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SHILLONG: For the first time in the country, Sign Bank titled Meghalaya Sign Bank which is a mobile App, was launched during the observation of International Day of Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) on Monday which seeks to assist the persons with hearing disability.
The app already contains a list of approximately 3000 words and a larger database of lexical entries is in the process of being added. To expand the Sign Bank, attempts will be made to include more than 10000 words.
Observed under the theme, “Empowering persons with disabilities and ensuring inclusiveness and equality in electoral process,” Additional Chief Secretary of Meghalaya , Hector Marwein said technologies made life of the Persons with disabilities (PwDs) better.
“Persons with disabilities face barriers. There is a need to break down barriers and to fight against discrimination, neglect, abuse and violation of rights,” he said.
The Guest of honour and the state’s Chief Electoral Officer, Frederick Kharkongor said the Election Commission of India (ECI) has declared this year as the year of accessible elections and assured of steps to improve the PwD’s opportunity to exercise their franchise.
Meghalaya Sign Bank
‘Meghalaya Sign Language’ is a language that is commonly shared across the deaf communities in the state.
The development of this Meghalaya Sign Bank would symbolise its strength as a linguistic entity and give recognition and empowerment to the language and its users.
The initiative to create this Sign Bank was taken by the Office of the Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities, Meghalaya in collaboration with National Informatics Center (NIC), Meghalaya team led by T Dkhar, Deputy Director General and State Informatics Officer, NIC Shillong and Melissa G. Wallang, Assistant Professor, North East Regional Institute of Education, Unit of NCERT, Shillong.
The app was developed through a rigorous process of research and development; strictly following linguistic methodology where the data was collected from deaf native informants having the appropriate language background, cultural identification and membership with the deaf community.
The Sign Bank could take precedence in the field of education and public institutions by ensuring communication access to all – hearing or deaf – where the deaf community can exercise equal opportunities in all spheres of their lives.