You don’t realise how much you take your voice for granted, until you can’t use it.
The CAC team have been in Nagpur, India this last week working with long time ally and partner – Slum Soccer. This is a partnership that is 8 years in the making, with many successful programmes delivered together. Due to the nature and frequency that we visit Slum Soccer, we wanted to do something different this time and really expand on what #PurposefulPlay means, by delivering a programme centred around #UNSDG10: Reduced Inequalities – specifically focusing on the inclusion of those who are deaf and mute.
Slum Soccer have recently started an initiative called ‘DeafKidz Goal!’ and will work with over 200 deaf children and young adults during this programme. India has one of the highest populations of deaf people in the world – Nagpur alone has over 6000 deaf children. Slum Soccer has seen that these young people were being held back and wanted to take action, calling in the assistance of CAC.
We had 4 deaf and mute coaches on the programme who were incredibly fun to work with – their energy and smiles made delivering the sessions a joy! However, aside from demonstrations, coaches who are able most often use their voice as the main way of communicating and relying solely on this wouldn’t work as we would be excluding some of our group. Whilst we had a brilliant Sign Language interpreter, we wanted to make sure they felt as included as possible – to do this we: played some games in silence and introduced different signs, instead of shouting for the ball we used hand waves, we all learnt how to sign good morning so we could do it together and when we had discussions we would always take time to allow everyone to input and share their thoughts. The coaches who were deaf and mute mentioned throughout the week that they were very happy and thankful and that their favourite sign throughout the week was that we always came to the field with a smile.
And a smile is the most universal sign there is.