Australia’s Support in Advancing Cambodian Sign Language Profession

Australia’s Support in Advancing Cambodian Sign Language Profession

On 23 August 2023, the Deaf Development Program (DDP) organised a dialogue between the Disability Action Council-Secretariat General (DAC-SG), NISE, and students from the 10th promotion on CSL). The event was organised with the support of the Australian Government through the Australia-Cambodia Cooperation for Equitable Sustainable Services (ACCESS) Program. It was aimed to gain deeper insights into the current landscape faced by CSL practitioners in Cambodia. Among the participants was Ms Chheun Srey Neang, a CSL student who highlighted important points related to the CSL course and the challenges encountered by CSL translators.

“Learning Cambodian Sign Language (CSL) has heightened my awareness of the culture surrounding hearing impairment and deepened my understanding of individuals with hearing challenges. It has also equipped me with the ability to communicate effectively with them, and it has instilled in me a strong desire to promote CSL within the wider community,” she stated.

Ms Chheun Srey Neang further shared her enthusiasm for the course, emphasising the need for students to have genuine passion for this field. She highlighted the importance of being proficient in physical language when facilitating translations or communicating with persons with hearing impairment. She also expressed the significance of overcoming shyness and actively practicing with those with hearing impairment. Notably, Ms. Srey Neang’s involvement extends beyond being a CSL student; she has taken on the role of a part-time teacher, teaching English and Khmer classes, and has even ventured into song composition. She has composed numerous songs aimed at inspiring people, especially those with disabilities, and has shared her work on her own YouTube channel and various social media platforms.

Under the coordination of DAC-SG and support of the ACCESS Program, DDP is collaborating with NISE to provide training sessions to CSL students. This training sessions commenced in October 2022 and are scheduled to run until September 2023. The class consists of 18 students (13 of whom are women). The purpose of this training is to facilitate communication for persons with hearing impairment in the community who require CSL interpretation services and to respond to the Royal Government’s initiative to provide additional Cambodian Sign Language interpreters in social services, in particular in public services.

During the dialogue forum, His Excellency Em Chan Makara, Secretary of State at the Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans, and Youth Rehabilitation (MoSVY) and Secretary General of DAC-SG, as well as Her Excellency Neang Phalla, Executive Director of NISE, commended the ACCESS program expressed their heartfelt appreciation for the program’s unwavering support and commitment to this crucial initiative.