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Pontis foundation taught sign language in Bratislava

FREE sign language courses were organised for people wanting to communicate with the hearing impaired, as well as for those who want to learn more about them.

FREE sign language courses were organised for people wanting to communicate with the hearing impaired, as well as for those who want to learn more about them.

In the second half of July, public courses were organised free of charge by the Nadácia Pontis (Pontis Foundation). People could choose from an intensive course between July 23 and 25, requiring advance registration, and an evening cours, between July 22 and 26, for which advance registration was not necessary.

Pontis’ Petra Nagyová told the SITA newswire that they were helped by the Foundation Fund Telekom. The weeklong course took place on the Magio Beach of the Tyršovo Embankment of the Danube River, and the intensive one was held in the Kontakt centre in downtown Bratislava.

“Participants will learn basic signs, and principles of communication with the deaf and hearing impaired, and they can also learn more about the community,” she said. “In the same way as we learn foreign languages, it is important to know at least the basics of a sign language, as those [who are hearing] impaired will always know to appreciate the effort to understand them,” Nagyová said. “Thus, we get them involved in our world and simplify the communication in everyday life.”

As the number of applicants for the intensive course (40) was higher than the number of opened places (15), organisers had to scrutinise their stated motivation and choose those with more valid or practical reasons.

“For example we preferred a lady who teaches a deaf child in a nursery school; or the head of a library who hired a hearing impaired employee,” Nagyová told the TASR newswire. As another example, she mentioned a woman whose husband recently lost his hearing, who are both raising a child with impaired hearing.

The course was tutored by a professional lecturer and interpreter of sign language, Robert Šarin.

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