August 17, 2011
The "National Deaf Students Gathering" began at Utsunomiya City in Tochigi Prefecture on August 15. The lecture meeting, discussions, etc. will take place and deepen the fellowship exchange through August 18.
The purpose of this gathering is to offer the opportunity for the Deaf students from across the country discuss a problem of communications and interesting topics. Parties concerned mention, "We want to make this event for the participants to come back to the starting point".
The national gathering is annually held in various places by the National Deaf Students Fellowship Group which has been active with a motto "No more lonely Deaf students". The event this year is the 31st and for Utsunomiya City the second.
The event attracted 136 participants. There were workshops, etc. on the world tour and the sign language on August 16 and the symposium with a theme on the "Great East Japan Earthquake and the Deaf" the next day.
OGAWA Yushi (26), the student group leader and a Hyogo University of Education graduate school student, and INAKAWA Naoki (21), an organizing committee chairman and a Tokyo City University junior, have worked together to prepare the event for about a year.
The opportunity for the Deaf student to get higher education has increased compared with the time when the first national gathering was held. However, it has been pointed as a fact that the support including the sign language interpreter and note taking yet varies by the colleges/universities.
Naoki signed, "We want not to forget thanks to the older generation who have fought against discrimination and the prejudice, and to make the gathering as a chance to go back to the starting point". Yushi also signs, "I would be glad if the circle of support extends at more colleges/universities taking the opportunity of the gathering".