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Government Funding For New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL) Programme To Benefit Families Hardest To Reach

A $2.8m funding boost for Deaf Aotearoa’s First Signs programme means families of Deaf toddlers and pre-schoolers in more remote regions, such as Hawke’s Bay, Northland and Central Otago will have access to better resources and support.

“We are thrilled with this significant additional funding, which provides us with the resources to expand and develop our world-renowned First Signs service. We will now be able to reach 100 additional Deaf children and their families, and strengthen our provision in remote and rural areas,” says Deaf Aotearoa chief executive Lachlan Keating.

“Right now, we are struggling to support less than 20 per cent of Kiwi families with Deaf children under five years old, which is well behind international standards,” he says. “We’d love to see NZSL thriving in communities all around the country, and for that to happen we need more First Signs Facilitators on the ground.”

This funding commitment from the Ministry of Education will enable Deaf Aotearoa to expand to meet both the current and future needs of Deaf children and their families, accommodating for the 200 Deaf babies born each year.

New Zealand is home to about 4,500 Deaf people in New Zealand, and 20,000 Kiwi’s who regularly use NZSL.

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