Etisalat today celebrated International Day of Sign Languages across its 36 business centers and retail stores across the UAE.
The initiative is in line with Etisalat’s brand direction, ‘Together Matters’, which reflects the leadership’s principles of promoting co-existence and acceptance and that the world is a better place when we are together.
On 23rd September each year, International Day of Sign Languages is celebrated across the world along with International Week of the Deaf to promote awareness about the importance of persons with hearing disabilities. The over-arching theme in 2019 is 'Sign Language Rights for All!'
Today, the sales team put their sign language skills into practice at Etisalat business centres and retail stores. Short videos on Emirati sign language are also being shown on screens across its stores to promote the inclusion of deaf people and encourages everyone to ‘speak’ the same language.
In the lead up to today’s event, Etisalat employees attended basic training on Emirati sign language, which uses a combination of gestures, facial expressions, silently mouthed words and physical posture. They learned how to greet customers in sign language, such as “Assalamu alaikum” (peace be upon you) and “How can I help you today?”
The training also covered the customary “Thank you for choosing Etisalat”, “What kind of phone would you like?”, “How would you like to pay?” and “What number would you like?” Etisalat employees were also taught how to use basic signs when asking for an Emirates ID, People of Determination ID, and a salary certificate, among various transactions.
Sign language will be a permanent feature across selected business centres and retail stores as part of Etisalat’s ongoing commitment to inclusion, accessibility and diversity. It is also in line with Etisalat’s efforts to support the UAE’s strategic objectives to integrate People of Determination with various disabilities into the community.
The UAE has adopted, through Cabinet Decision No. 38 for 2018, a sign language dictionary, the first sign language dictionary in the Emirati dialect, which is the primary reference for sign language for the hearing impaired in the UAE.