Scholarship supports sign language speaker

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Jessica Laws signs the Auslan word for "interpretation".

Christian Services for the Blind and Hearing Impaired (CSFBHI) recently awarded Jessica Laws the Personal Pursuit and Empowerment scholarship.

The scholarship gives cash assistance to qualifying visually-impaired or hearing-impaired persons, or support persons, participating in self-improvement, vocational or recreational programs in support of their life goals.

Ms Laws is studying Certificate 3 in Auslan (Australian Sign Language) with the goal of studying to interpreter level. Improved fluency in Auslan signing will empower her to make a greater contribution to the Church’s outreach to the neglected Deaf community. In this area, Ms Laws is a pioneer—the Church in the South Pacific Division having no pastoral Auslan “speakers”.

“Becoming fluent in Auslan is important to me as a way to open up the opportunity to connect with the Deaf and Hard of Hearing in the Seventh-day Adventist Church,” she said. “Statistically, this community is not represented in our churches, predominantly because there is no accessibly.

“As I have learnt more Auslan I have become more passionate about the language and the community. This opportunity to become formally qualified allows me to become another point of contact for Deaf members on a local church level.”

The basic provisions for the CSFBHI Personal Pursuit and Empowerment (PPE) scholarship include being 16 or older, planning to or already attending a recognised training/recreational program or entity and be connected to the Christian community.

CSFBHI, a ministry of Adventist Media, will provide another scholarship in 2019. The PPE has previously been awarded to Eyes for India, Deaf Church Downunder and a former WA Blind camp attendee training in the US for independent living.

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