The ability to communicate and freely express yourself in your own language is a basic right. Communication solutions and digital inclusion play a pivotal role in serving different spheres of the populace in Bangladeshi society. Recently Grameenphone has launched an initiative themed, ‘Kothagulo Hariye Na Jak Shobder Obhabe,’ to inspire all of us to learn sign language and thus enable us to communicate to hearing and speech impaired near and dear ones around us. In continuation to this effort, Grameenphone launched sign-line digital care dedicated for the and operated by the hearing and speech impaired community on February 16, 2020, at The Westin Dhaka.
Through this initiative, Grameenphone has incorporated sign language based digital care service in its official website and its self-service digital care app MyGP. Furthermore, the ‘Kothagulo Hariye Na Jak Shobder Obhabe’ campaign will enable interested members of the community to learn the basics of sign language through a tutorial video by sign language expert Arafat Sultana Lata. Enable them to communicate with their near and dear ones, who are either speech or hearing impaired. Anyone can access this sign language video tutorial from Grameenphone’s official website and YouTube channel.
The month of February signifies a month of sacrifice and achievement, with February 21 marking the ultimate sacrifice for the Bangla language and commemorated both locally and globally as ‘International Mother Language Day.’ However, sign language, the primary medium of communication used by the hearing and speech impaired lacks the validation it deserves, and the initiative taken by Grameenphone will support to bring this essential skill to the forefront of the mainstream of society.
Grameenphone CEO, Yasir Azman reiterated Grameenphone’s commitment to the society at the event and stated,”Benefits of Communication technology must reach and include everyone in our society. Now we are a family of 76.5million, and it is our responsibility to serve everyone in our network, including hearing and speech impaired community. Integration of ‘sign-line,’ a sign-language based video call service on MyGP, and www.grameenphone.com will help us serve to millions in special need.”
He said, “It is now time to widen digital inclusion to contribute more to the digital Bangladesh journey and thus our purpose empowering societies. I am thankful to all who helped us in developing this much needed digital platform and committed to minimizing the language barrier, in other words, reducing inequalities just before we observe the international mother language day on February 21, 2020.”
Even though Bangladesh has millions of hearing, and speech impaired people, the opportunities for learning sign languages are inadequate. As a result, they are unable to communicate appropriately with the rest of the population. Yasir Azman further stated, “The power of spoken language has been taken for granted, but we also need to accommodate this non-verbal mode of communication to create an inclusive society for everyone. The power of the internet provides a simple way to access and learn this skill through online video tutorials, enabling anyone interested to learn sign language.”
During the event, a team of sign-language experts led by Arafat Sultana Lata sang, Ekusher Gaan ‘Amar Bhai Er Rokte Rangano’. The event was also attended by Sajjad Hasib, Chief Marketing Officer, Nafees Anwar Choudhury, Head of Marketing, Khairul Basher, Head of Communications of Grameenphone and acclaimed actor and singer, Tahsan Khan.