The deaf community in Barbados, can now fully access digital content featuring Barbadian culture produced by the National Cultural Foundation, released in celebration of International Week of the Deaf 2022.
Following this year’s theme, “Building an Inclusive Community”, the NCF has re-edited and released its 5-part animation series All Aboard about the Barbados Landship using American Sign Language (ASL) with the assistance of experienced sign language interpreter Bonnie Leonce and subtitles for an enhanced experience for community members and their families.
Leonce, who is also an advocate for the community, shared her views on the importance of such initiatives. “Accessibility is always the cry of the deaf and hard of hearing community here in Barbados. Being able to receive information real-time, the same as their hearing counterparts, makes equality a reality for them. In addition, when information is recorded and sent out on various platforms, having an interpreter becomes critical. All this community desires is access and equality through sign language; their first language. Communication matters,” she said.
She also underscored the importance of the community having access to culturally specific content. “The project is a totally Bajan affair which means you’re allowing people to access their own culture… It also brings home the fact that they [members of deaf community] are just as Bajan as you and me.”
NCF’s CEO Carol Roberts stated that “one of the Foundation’s major goals is to transfer knowledge about our intangible cultural heritage and cultural forms to as large and receptive an audience as possible; to achieve this goal, we must therefore create content geared towards diversity and inclusion. We are committed to practising these two sustainable goals in all of our future programming”
A diverse range of educational and entertaining content was selected for the Sign Language Interpretation Project, appealing to various publics and age groups. They include “All Aboard”, the Barbados Landship animation series for children 5-11, which were the first suite of videos released. In the coming weeks will be the five-part documentary series Bush Tea: Herbs, Plants and Barbadian Botanical stories and a two-part Oral History interview with Barbados Landship stalwarts and in the works is a second edition of the Barbados Teacher’s Training Manual with demonstration videos.
Persons interested in viewing the content should visit the NCF’s YouTube channel, Facebook page or website www.ncf.bb (PR)