As a result of technical cooperation with Brazil, Cape Verdean educators celebrate the launch of the 1st Cape Verdean Sign Language Dictionary. Considered historic, the document aims to promote the unification of sign language of deaf students across the country, as well as serving as a literacy tool and working tool for teachers in the country.
The final product of an important technical cooperation project called “School of All – Phase 2”, the dictionary was coordinated by the Brazilian Cooperation Agency (ABC) and technically implemented by the Federal University of Santa Maria (UFSM) and the Cape Verdean government.
For over ten years, the project has developed a number of actions to promote the inclusion of people with disabilities in Cape Verdean education systems, and the launch of the dictionary is considered the apex of the project.
“This is a project that essentially covers two areas: education and inclusion. And it is even fully aligned with our goal of leaving no one behind, “says Assistant Secretary of State Amadeu Cruz.” This dictionary will help the deaf community now have a lot more ways to be part, effectively from our society. The deaf community will have access to more opportunities, expand their income and live a more dignified life. ”
“Language registration brings dignity, recognition and belonging”
As Cape Verde is a country made up of several islands, there are differences in the gestures used by deaf communities on each of the islands. The research and methodology used for dictionary development took this into consideration. UFSM researchers visited the islands, filmed the various gestures and, back in Brazil, developed a methodology for identifying the meaning and graphic attribution of gestures. The dictionary went through a total of 17 reviews and validations by Cape Verdean partners, until it reached its final version. The current register should be adjusted over time.
“Language registration brings dignity, recognition and belonging. The differential of the human being in relation to other animals is precisely the language. And this dictionary is the expression of the language used by the deaf community of Cape Verde. It is an honor and privilege for ABC to be part of this historic moment, ”says Anna Perez, head of ABC’s technical cooperation projects with Cape Verde.
“Our project has contributed not only to forming more inclusive societies but also more inclusive school spaces and more qualified teachers to deal with students with disabilities,” said Ana Claudia Pavão, project coordinator at UFSM and a project member from the beginning.