Given that there aren’t any comprehensive sign language books on Islamic teachings, JS Academy for the Deaf, a project of Noor-e-Ali Trust in Pakistan, has paved the way for others by launching Farhang-e-Isharati Islami, an Islamic dictionary in sign language.
Laila Dossa, the trust’s chairperson, told the audience at the launching ceremony that their 12-year journey had started off with just a couple of teachers and now 25 teachers, nine of them deaf, were imparting knowledge to students with special needs.
"We have 180 students who are enrolled in classes from kindergarten to BA. We do not differentiate between them on the basis of their financial stature or their age; rather, we try to offer them an affordable fee structure so no child is left behind.”
She said the school had produced remarkable results over time and the students were not only taught basic subjects but were also equipped for the fields of arts, science and culture.
Speaking about the book, she said it took them three years to finally come up with a comprehensive text that could cater to those who understand sign language.
HM Zaigham, editor of Zaman newspaper, added that the book comprised around 612 words with translations closest to the original meaning.
"We made sure to achieve precision in this regard and I want to congratulate the team for doing a marvelous job. We hope to increase the vocabulary to 1,000 words in the next edition to make it all-inclusive.”
Shehla Ali, one of the teachers associated with the work for the past many years, shared her experience of completing the herculean task.
"All of us were in this together like a chain of pearls: if one breaks, the whole chain falls apart. We had seen many visual charts for other subjects so it was easy for the students to learn them. But in the case of Islamiat (Islamic teachings) it can get a bit confusing because the names ascribed to personalities are often kept in our homes, so we consulted all sources to come up with a book that helped remove any misunderstanding of the text.”
Source: The News