On a recent visit to the Philippines Pope Francis made a a big impact on the Filipino Deaf community In part this was because the Popes visit has sign language interpreters who appeared on the TV coverage. "Most hearing people or even television networks do not really understand the importance of giving access to information for the deaf through the use of sign language… For most people, a small box at the corner of their television set is bothersome,” said one of the Popes Interpreters
But even more of an impact was how Pope Francis interacted with a Deaf family in large stadium. He talked with them through an interpreter and the family signed to him. They even taught him how to say “I love you” and "Thank You" in sign language .
But it wasn't all positive. The papal visit also brought to surface some people’s ignorance and general apathy toward the deaf community. One television network removed the sign language interpreter picture inset just because there was a change in segment programming, while continuously airing the pope’s speech.GOD'S MESSAGE. A deaf interpreter relays Pope Francis' message to deaf people during the pontiff's encounter with families in the MOA Arena. Photo from Rappler
Another touching act by the pope was during his encounter with a deaf family in the MOA Arena. Pope Francis learned how to say “I love you” in sign language after the family gave their speech.
Natividad said the papal visit also brought to surface people’s ignorance and general apathy toward the deaf community. One television network removed the sign language interpreter picture inset just because there was a change in segment programming, while continuously airing the pope’s speech.
“This was being insensitive to the rights of the deaf to have access and inclusion. The interpreters and the team could not do anything at that point but there were lessons learned,” concluded n interpreter explained.
But overall the conclusion is the Pope's visit seems to have big step towards promoting deaf awareness in the country.
“All in all, I think it turned out very well, deaf students were texting and expressing their reactions in social media. I think that is a relatively good gauge in this technology-inspired world we live in,” said interpreter Naty Natividad