International Sign Language Day 2023 was celebrated by the Department of Social Services (DSS) at Sethsiripaya, Battramulla, with over 250 participants, including representatives from the Deaf community, government officials, sponsors, well-wishers, and guests. DSS is the main government body that provides Sign Language Interpretation Services to the Deaf community in the country.
For the first time in Sri Lanka, the Department of Social Services (DSS) published and ceremoniously launched a ‘Code of Ethics’ book for Sign language Interpreters. Also, for the first time in Sri Lanka, DSS conducted an all-island ‘Sign Language Oratory Competition’ for Deaf children and adults.
NDB Bank, as part of their Corporate Sustainability activities sponsored the publication of the ‘Code of Ethics’ book and the prizes for the winners of the ‘Sign Language Oratory Competition’. It was heartening to see the winners in each category perform and speak on the topics of ‘Protecting Our Environment’ and ‘The Importance of Sign Language’.
The Chairperson of the NDB Corporate Sustainability Committee, Melody Wickramanayake, said, “This ‘Code of Ethics’ book is a vital tool to ensure that interpreters maintain high standards of professional conduct in their capacity and identity as interpreters.”
Speaking to the Bank, government Sign Language Interpreter Mr Dinesh Fernando stated that there are around 500,000 Deaf people in Sri Lanka with 25 schools for the Deaf, however, to date, there has been no legal document for Sign Language Interpreters. Therefore, the publication of the ‘Code of Ethics’ book is a huge achievement on behalf of the Deaf in Sri Lanka and is a forerunner to the proposed Act of Parliament pertaining to Sign language for the Deaf Community in Sri Lanka. This ‘Code of Ethics’ book has been developed by a community-based consultation model where various parties had input, including the National Institute of Education, Sign Language Interpreters, the deaf community, teachers, etc., to ensure quality of service for all persons involved. The team also studied and incorporated international best practices.
Considering that this is a government-issued legal document, interpreters are required to abide by the Code of Ethics and follow the Guidelines for Professional Conduct. The underlying values in the book include professional conduct, accountability, confidentiality, providing service with respect, integrity, honesty, non-discrimination, etc.
International Sign Language Day 2023 is celebrated worldwide to raise awareness of the importance of Sign Language in the full realisation of the human rights of people who are deaf. The theme for the 2023 International Day of Sign Languages is “A World Where Deaf People Everywhere Can Sign Anywhere!”.
Sign Language is a visual language that is complete with rules, grammar, and words, letting people express their thoughts, feelings, and ideas. Communication through sign language is critical for individuals in the Deaf community who may not have other ways to easily communicate.
As a responsible corporate citizen, the Bank will continue to support and empower the differently-abled, paving the way for an inclusive culture in our nation.
NDB Bank is the fourth-largest listed commercial bank in Sri Lanka. The Bank was recently named the Retail Bank of the Year (Sri Lanka) at Asian Banking & Finance Retail Banking Awards 2023 and the Best Corporate Bank 2023 by Asiamoney and also emerged as the Most Awarded Corporate in Sri Lanka in 2022 for the second consecutive year, as per the annual rankings of Sri Lankan publication LMD. The Bank was adjudged the Best Bank in Sri Lanka 2022 by Global Finance USA and Euromoney in their annual best bank awards programmes. Additionally, The Bank was named one of the “Top 50 Best Workplaces in Sri Lanka 2022” by Great Place To Work, USA. NDB is the parent company of the NDB Group, comprising capital market subsidiary companies, together forming a unique banking and capital market services group. The Bank is committed to empowering the nation and its people through meaningful financial and advisory services powered by digital banking solutions.