Sign language, a necessity for an inclusive society

This September 23 marks International Sign Language Day, the date on which the World Federation of the Deaf was founded in 1951. That is why, from September 19 to 25, the International Week of the Deaf (SIPS-2022) is celebrated with the motto “Building inclusive communities for all”, for quality education that educates and promotes the authentic values ​​of the Cuban Deaf community (Language-Culture- Identity).

Organizations such as: the National Association of the Deaf in Cuba (ANSOC), the National Center for the Improvement and Development of the Deaf (CENDSOR)… are involved in a group of activities that highlight the achievements made in these communities, in addition to promoting and raising awareness of their rights in society. Their support is needed to remove communication barriers.

The competition “My signed world” or “My world in the language of signs” is called in the modalities of painting and photography, aimed at people with hearing impairment between the ages of 6 and 12; from 13 to 17 years; from 17 to 25 years and over 25 years. The deadline for delivery will be September 25. Works are sent with a visible image to: , or through WhatsApp add phone numbers: 52883543 or 52868880.

Hearing students of all ages can participate in the drawing, photography and literature categories under the title “Deaf People in Contemporary Cuban Society.”

any job must reflect: name, surname, age, district, municipality, study or work center. Students should clarify the career they are pursuing. Only one entry per contestant will be accepted. The results will be announced on CENDSOR social networks in the last week of September.

As part of this event and at the initiative of Animated ICAIC, a pioneer in the inclusion of subtitles and sign language in animated productions, last Monday the 19th a magical meeting took place between students of the special school René Vilches and this entity. The occasion filled with emotions the guests who interacted between costumes, photos and joys together with the children’s project Cascabel, directed by the Cuban artist and puppeteer Rigoberto Rufin.

on the tour

Michael Chavez, playwright, screenwriter and lead actor at this meeting, stated: “What happened was magical, the students, led by their teachers, were bussed from the school to the Learning Center. When they arrived in the lobby of the institution—as if by surprise—their faces lit up. The little ones were received by the director of the studio, Ester Hirtzel. She spoke to them slowly as they read her lips to understand everything. Hirzel was accompanied by the sign language interpreter Massiel Suárez, who intervenes in the animation productions with this modality carried out in the Studios. The production crew and actors were present; Armando Alba, Deputy Director of Production; Nilza González, Psychologist and Professor in the Faculty of Psychology and Coordinator of the Sign Language Initiative at Animated ICAIC…

After the reception, they enjoyed animated projections with sign language and Spanish subtitles, in addition to the entertaining dramatization of Mikel Chávez (Pipo pipo) and Federico behind the screen.

One of the most exclusive and well-received moments was the guided visit to sets at the filming of the studies, where the students were instructed in the process of creating the second chapter of “Stories of Federico”, entitled “El pastel de la mona Jacinta”, which includes sign language and subtitles in Spanish under the direction of Isis Chaviano and an excellent production team .

the workshop of stop motion of Paul Chaviano was not far behind, the students learned details of the creative process of works made with this technique. Everyone looked surprised.

Mikel expressed: “And what better gift than to see how the little ones were encouraged to sing Federico’s song in sign language! Love should be the language we all speak. Studios Animation Productions has taken this initiative to include sign language and subtitles for an inclusive society. For our children to understand that love is the main foundation and support that can make us become better people, better human beings, better families”.

On September 24th and 25th, with the support of Animated ICAIC, will be premiered at the “El Arca” Puppet Museum, located at Obrapía and Avenida del Puerto in Old Havana, Chapter 1 “The Painter Chicken” of the series “Stories for Federico “, leaving the invitation open to the whole family.

Institutions such as Cuban radio, especially Radio Progreso; The National Council of Houses of Culture, Artex Cuban Editions, the National Council of Performing Arts – where Federico appeared in 2008 – are involved in this beautiful transmedia project. Federico also travels to neighborhoods and communities in transformation, homes for children without family protection, homes of culture… He has had a very good impact on boys, girls, young people and adults, remembered again and again.

If you haven’t heard Pipo pipo and Federico yet, I invite you to listen to their funny stories from Monday to Friday at 17:00 on Radio Progreso, together with thousands of listeners from Cuba and other latitudes.

The beginning of the International Day of the Deaf on September 19 struck a pleasant memory in the young playwright Michael Chavez, who created the image of Federico. He felt great satisfaction playing for and for the little ones. “Today, I still have a heart full of so many emotions, to see these euphoric children, to see that there are no language barriers, that we can unite from the heart. As an actor, I got rid of my ego and positioned myself according to what our audience needed. It’s very emotional.” Mikel expressed his intention to learn sign language and reach out to people who need it. “Art renews and gives the will to continue and advance.”

And this is how this project comes from the research and needs of society, to focus and contribute fresh ideas that promote an inclusive society that achieves the desired magic and smile. As Federico says “Dreams are so fragile that the flap of a zunzún’s wings can break them, but the magic and spirit of the dreamer can always save them”.

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