1031 CL Amsterdam
As part of our program Deaf, Proud & Musical, we organize workshops for deaf and hearing girls together. During the workshops, the girls will write a song and then record a music video, in which they will rap and use sign language. Dianna, a volunteer in our program, visited one of these workshops:
“Today I visited this project for the first time in Deheisha refugee camp. There were six girls participating in the workshop; three of them are part of the rap program from Musicians without Borders and the other three have a low hearing ability and are new participants. We sat in a circle and Mohammed, one of the workshop leaders, started making different movements with his body and everyone followed. After this warm-up we had to introduce ourselves to the group. Everyone was supposed to use hand signs in order to say: ”my name is”, followed by a self-chosen hand sign or movement that would represent you or the meaning of your name. It was funny to see how the girls would make movements to introduce themselves; one by her earrings, one by her big beautiful smile, one by the first letter in her name. I did not know what I was supposed to do, but the girls happily agreed that I should make a movement that had people recognize me on my big curly hair.
“Throughout the workshop, there were many different exercises in how to communicate and be aware of the people we are with, throughout movements and body language. One of the exercises was a clapping game, where only eye contact and focusing on each other’s body language could keep the clapping going.
“The girls also had to communicate together without any translation or interpretation. An interesting thing we learned from this, is how you, even if you don’t know sign language, you can easily communicate by body language just by trying to create a movement that will represent a specific person or meaning.
“In a workshop like this, where half of the girls can hear and half can’t, it was also interesting to see how aware the girls became of each other, despite the fact that they actually seemed a bit shy at first about communicating together. Eventually, throughout the workshop, they were more relaxed and seemed to trust themselves more in it, focusing and being open-minded in order to stay connected with each other. So I can imagine how much the girls will develop and how uncomplicated it will be for them to communicate together comfortably after more of these workshops.”
The talented Mohammad (rap workshop leader), Halimeh (music workshop leader and deaf) and Magedah (music workshop leader and interpreter), will guide the girls in choosing a theme for their music video, writing the rap text, creating the signs, and performing their song. We can’t wait to share the result with you!
Thank you Dianna for your story and pictures, and thank you Shoruq organization for your cooperation in offering these girls a safe space to be creative!
Please check the following link to see our rap&sign video from 2013, tackling subjects such as education for the deaf and marriage among the deaf community.