International Day of Sign Languages: See Vale’s Initiatives

About Vale

9/23/2020

International Day of Sign Languages: See Vale’s Initiatives

Polyanna Bonfim, technical maintenance assistant and member of “Hands That Speak” group
Polyanna Bonfim, technical maintenance assistant and member of “Hands That Speak” group

The International Day of Sign Languages is observed on September 23 every year and celebrates the creation of the World Federation of the Deaf (WFD), an institution that works in more than 100 countries towards ensuring the human rights of deaf people worldwide. The movement is a priority for Vale as it strives to expand the range of accessibility tools to ensure equal growth and development for all its employees.

We have over 9 million deaf people in Brazil, and like any of us, they depend on communication to survive. The deaf community needs Sign language to communicate, just as much as we need Portuguese

said Eleilza Oliveira, utilities supervisor of the Mechanical Truck Maintenance area in Carajás.


                  

eilza was involved in the creation of “Hands That Speak,” a group of Vale employees who volunteer as sign language interpreters to help in everyday communication in Carajás, Pará. The group’s proposal is to support and inform deaf employees about all company matters.

One of the members of the group is the technical maintenance assistant Polyanna Tea Bonfim Araújo. “What I like most about working at Vale is teaching sign language in the Health and Safety Dialogue in the area; I teach people my language!” exclaimed Polyanna, who has been with the company for eight years. “Deaf people willing to join any company should be interested in learning Portuguese too, as they will need to read many articles and documents, especially those related to safety. They must keep interacting with listeners and never be alone in any situation, never isolate themselves from others,” he added.

 


 

One of the initiatives developed by Vale is the virtual assistant Hugo, which translates Vale’s website into the Brazilian sign language automatically online.

The tool is available on all pages and users can access it by simply clicking on the hands icon in the right corner of the screen. Vale also implemented this feature in other internal communication channels. Other initiatives to increase accessibility at Vale include Sign language classes using luminous sirens and identification vests for deaf people.

What is the difference between deaf and hard of hearing people?

The term “hard of hearing” is used for people who are not part of the deaf community and do not use Sign language because they do not recognize themselves culturally as deaf.
Those who recognize themselves as deaf know that they cannot hear, but they also know that they can do anything that other people do, except listen. They believe that it is normal to be deaf, and that there is no need to “fix” their ears; they have their own culture, identity and language.

About the International Day of Sign Languages

The International Day of Sign Languages was first observed by the UN in 2018 and marks the anniversary of the World Federation of the Deaf. The date is also part of the International Week of the Deaf, which in 2020 will be about “Reaffirming Deaf People’s Human Rights.”

Difference makes all the difference
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International Day of Sign Languages: See Vale’s Initiatives