From November 2011, the volunteers will begin learning Sri Lankan Sign Language at the SL Volunteers office in London. The lessons are run by Sophie Allen, a BSL sign language interpreter, who has been volunteering at deaf schools in Sri Lanka since 2001, and is fluent in sri lankan sign language. Sophie has great love for Sri Lanka and is dedicating her time to ensure that the team are adequately trained before they arrive.
Aliya Gulamani, a recent graduate from Goldsmiths Uni will be joining the team, ‘Being profoundly deaf myself I am lucky to have had access to an excellent education in the UK, and I believe that everyone, deaf or hearing deserves the right to an education’.
The Volunteers will be assisting staff at a Deaf school, in Colombo and the staff have specifically asked SL Volunteers to support the older children with their computing skills to increase their chances of securing employment when they leave the school.
This project follows on from the already established SL Volunteers teaching projects, that offer free-spoken English lessons to people in Sri Lanka that would otherwise not have the opportunity. Since being established in May 2010, SL Volunteers has sent over 100 volunteers from the UK, to teach English in Orphanges and Youth centres.
SL Volunteers are looking for more volunteers to join the team, both deaf or hearing people who have an interest in teaching or working with people with Special Needs. Applications for the January projects are still open.
Aliya: “This trip has a personal significance for me as I want to pass the message on. The message that, even with deafness you can be anything and you can do anything you wish for the world is yours”