Magazine article New Internationalist

Finger Chats

Magazine article New Internationalist

Finger Chats

Article excerpt

In a busy park in central Delhi, a group of 20 people stand out as they gesture at each other in unison. Only one of them is deaf; the other 19 are there to learn to speak with her.

'I once had an experience with a deaf person who needed my help, but I couldn't connect with him,' said Subodh Arora, a freelance designer who is a regular at the sessions. 'I've been inspired to learn the language ever since.'

India has an estimated 18 million deaf people, but only 250 certified sign-language interpreters. Finger Chats, as the group is called, is a community-led initiative founded last April across four cities that aims to bridge this shocking gap every Saturday, one hour at a time.

'The concept is simple: it is a way to explore deaf culture,' says Vishnu Soman, who picked up the mantle after the initial sessions, which were run by Enable India.

Finger Chats relies on volunteers and does not charge for sessions. …

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