Örebro – European Capital of Sign Language
Swedish Sign is the second most common language in Örebro city, after Swedish. There are approximately two thousand deaf people living in the city as well as approximately thirteen thousand sign language users.
In the city, there is a Service Centre with deaf staff that provides service in sign language. Örebro also has the only national high school for deaf and hard of hearing students in the country. We also have schools that provide adult education as well as interpreting trainings, Swedish and Swedish sign language courses for immigrants and many more!
In March 2010, Örebro City Council, in cooperation with Region Örebro, the National Agency for Special Needs Education and Schools (SPSM) and Örebro University, declared Örebro as European Capital of Sign Language. This declaration came after the Language Act which came into force on the 1st of July 2009.
The Act states that the public sector has a responsibility to protect and promote the national minority languages as well as Swedish Sign Language. The responsibility includes giving all residents of Sweden the opportunity to learn, develop and use Swedish Sign Language. The Act also ensures that information from the public sector must be provided in Swedish Sign Language and education must be provided through Swedish Sign Language.
The declaration has six identified commitments:
- We follow the Language Act from the 1st of July 2009 and strive for the development and the use of Swedish Sign Language.
- We strive to make Swedish Sign Language visible in the community.
- We encourage people who are interested in Swedish Sign Language or need to learn to study the language.
- We raise awareness of the importance of Swedish Sign Language in our organisations.
- We participate in the regional, national and international work to facilitate the everyday life of sign language users.
- We work to improve the competence of our public servants in their knowledge about sign language users.
Action Plan for 2017–2019
After three civil dialogues and a joint consultation with sign language (or deaf) organization, Örebro City Council created an Action Plan for 2017–2019 with four focus areas:
1. Sustainable development
- Training programs directed towards agencies that meet sign language users in their everyday work as well as politicians.
- Investigate the opportunity to have our own pool of interpreters.
- Investigate the need of a resource team for sign language users.
- Sign Language forums.
2. Citizens’ empowerment
- Civil dialogue with citizens.
- Dialogue forum with national minority groups.
3. Children and young people’s needs
- Create a sustainable plan for a youth centre.
- Initiate a research about the need of a primary school for students from 7-16 years of age with a sign language profile.
- Investigate the need of sign language resources at the Family Centre.
4. Social welfare
- Investigate the opportunity of a team that gives support to elderly sign language users.
- Look at which areas that need to strengthen their sign language competence.
If you would like to know more about Örebro as European Capital of Sign Language or even visit us, you can contact us at:
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