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News | Tuesday, 17 December 2008

Rotaract organises wine tasting to raise funds for deaf

Recently, Rotaract Malta La Valette organised a wine-tasting event at EST EST EST, in Sliema, in aid of the Deaf Association. Rotaract Malta La Valette, a voluntary Rotary-sponsored service club that undertakes philanthropic work, is working on a national project to increase awareness of and to support the Deaf Association.
The Deaf Association strives to improve the quality of life for deaf and hearing-impaired people in the Maltese Islands, with special emphasis on educational and social activities. In fact, it has already established its own club, known as the “Deaf Club” to its members, which offers a relaxing environment; free from communication barriers, where 20 to 40 people gather every Friday to enjoy a drink, shoot some pool, play darts and simply unwind with friends at the end of the week.
The preferred language among members is Maltese Sign Language also known as LSM (Lingwa tas-Sinjali Maltija). Contrary to popular belief sign language is not universal, for example British Sign Language (BSL) differs greatly to American Sign Language (ASL) despite both countries having English as their official language.
Maltese Sign Language is a complex visual-spatial language used by the Deaf community in Malta, it is a fully-fledged language with its own grammar and is by no means inferior to spoken languages and the existence of poetry and witticisms in different sign languages supports this view further. Despite the proven validity of Maltese Sign Language it is not yet officially recognized nor does it have any legal protection.
At the moment, the association’s club is located at Lascaris Wharf, where the Maritime Authority used to be, and this site is rented from the government at a low price. The location is in a decent condition, despite the renovations ten years ago, and is equipped with a hall, a TV area, an office, WCs and a bar/kitchen area. It also boasts a superb balcony view of St Elmo, Bighi and Vittoriosa across the harbour. Unfortunately, the steep, winding staircase poses a problem to those with mobility issues who wish to access the club’s premises. The weather can also be somewhat harsh, especially the insufferable summer heat, as well as the biting wintry cold.
In order to give a helping hand, Rotaract Malta La Valette has suggested a number of aims that could help work towards solving a few of these issues. By raising enough funds to be able to buy and install a stair-lift, the problem concerning access could be solved immediately, eliminating further discrimination to those with mobility problems. Another way Rotaract seeks to help the Deaf Association is by raising funds to acquire a photocopier to reduce the association’s annual outgoing expenses due to the need for regularly published circulars and various government reports. Two air-conditioning units, which would be used regularly rather than constantly, would prove useful in the summer months, economically and environmentally aided by plans to paint the roof silver to deflect as much heat as possible.
Finally, Rotaract La Valette Malta is working towards a greater awareness of the needs of the Deaf Association, their language and culture through fund-raising events such as the most recent wine-tasting event, so keep your ears pricked and your eyes open. Furthermore, Rotaract Malta La Valette would like to extend their gratitude to the Demajo Group, Silvio Carabott and Anthony Miceli Demajo for their help and support at EST EST EST.
For further information or to help with this project, visit www.rotaractmalta.org or email info@rotaractmalta.org or contact the president Perit Etienne Fenech on 9982 8484.

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17 December 2008
ISSUE NO. 563

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