Sunday, March 1, 2009

International Deaf Perspective: Spain

I have a conversation with World Federation for the Deaf Youth Section board member Roberto Sanchez about deaf organizations in Spain.


Leah: (to audience) Hello. We are here in SOVA Wine and Espresso bar for this fundraising event to support Global Reach Out (GRO) so their delegates can go to other counties and help them out. Now, I introduce Roberto Suarez. I have questions for him.

Leah: (to Roberto) What is your position?

Roberto: I am a board member of World Federation of Deaf Youth Section (WFDYS). You already told my name. My name sign is (‘D’ move up and down by the nose). I am from Spain.

Leah: Spain, oh. Welcome to America. I am happy to have you here.

Roberto: Thank you.

Leah: Spain associations, what do they lobby the government for? What do they do?

Roberto: The most important event was in 2007 when the government recognized Spanish Sign Language as a language. This was a huge step in the history. In the past two years, the law has been polishing. For examples, there must be bilingual in education, captions must be 100% accessible.

Leah: Good.

Roberto: And interpreter services must be provided. The goal is to remove barriers.

Leah. Good. Good. I am happy about that. Spain is a big country. How many Deaf associations are there?

Roberto: We have three structures. The associations that represent Spain have 17 federation members. In each federation association regions, there are smaller associations. There are 130 associations. So, in total of all associations in Spain, there are around 150 associations.

Leah: Wow. That is many. Do deaf people get involved in politics or not?

Roberto: Well, the society has changed a lot. It is very different than in the past. Nowadays, deaf lives are more accessible and have more choices. So being involved in associations isn’t as important. The numbers of member are down because deaf lives have more accessibility. In the old days, when barriers weren’t broken, associations were the only places for information. Now deaf people can get news anywhere so their focus in associations are less.

Leah: Yes. Good. Okay, last question – you are from Spain and you see America voted for Obama. What do you think?

Roberto: My personal opinion, I think this is positive.
Leah: Positive?

Roberto: Yes, positive because this is liberal, democracy, sorry I don’t know the word in English. Just like Spain, it means that the opinions of people are important and valued, opposed to governments’ opinions. Plus, because Obama is black, it means that his heart is big. He can understand and relate with people and help serving them for the better.

Leah: Good. Interesting perspective. Thank you.

Leah: (to audience) It is interesting to see different international deaf perspectives on politics.

Leah: (to Roberto) Thank you for sharing your perspective.

Roberto: Likewise. Thank you.

Leah: (to audience) Thank you.


Lady Sil said...

Great post there! Is there an email to contact him about his involvement with WFDYS and other related issues? Thanks!

Για τη Νοηματική said...

hello there!!! There is programme in Estonia for deaf and hearing people and they try to find people from Spain! Can I contact with someone to inform about the programme in order to be informed as many people from spain as it is possible? Thank you!