A sign language circle, called "Kawanoe Sign Language Circle-Nogiku," was chosen to receive the Autumn Medal-Green Order for the community service in Ehime Prefecture.
Eiko Uda (49), president of the circle, expressed her delight, saying that all the members were surprised at the announcement." (See the photo in the link)
The circle, formed in 1981, has about 30 members, and most are hearing women. Their occupations are varied; company employees, housewives, and others. Uda is a registered nurse.
The members not only to learn sign language, but also meeting deaf individuals through events and activities.
They held events such as a weekly friendships exchange program and the sign language class for the beginners, and visit the elementary school in the city as a part of the integrated study to introduce how persons with disabilities live.
The activities of 100 or more a year include such as enjoying the cherry blossoms, the camp, and a Christmas party.
Also all the members have studied hard to pass the nationwide sign language certificate examination for the improvement of the sign language skills.
Uda said, "We believe a lot of events and activities that we have been doing for a long time were highly evaluated. Hereafter, we all want to keep up."
Source: the Yomiuri Shimbun, Nov. 2, 2008