As you may have noticed, we have added a new motto to our music: ‘Music to make you feel good in bad times’. Mycah wants to spread positive energy, and you have stumbled on our new side project to do so: inspiring people. There are many inspiring people out there. Not heroes, or world leaders, but everyday people who do beautiful things. For other people or for the planet we all live on. Who make the world a better place, even if it’s just for one other person, if only for a day. Mycah wants to share the stories of these every day heroes. First up: young Emily from Holland.
Now 12-year-old Emily from Holland has a younger sister, Annika, with Down syndrome. Annika doesn’t speak much, but understands a lot of what’s going on around her. To communicate better with Annika, the family decided to all learn a new word in official Dutch sign language every day. To encourage their family and friends to join the family, Emily started the Facebook page ‘Gebaar van de dag’ (Sign of the day) about two years ago. Every day of the year, a video is posted in which Emily can be seen signing the ‘word of the day’.
Sign language seems to have become increasingly popular among hearing people (at least in Holland) to communicate with babies and with people who – like Annika – can’t speak well. By now, Emily’s page has over 30.000 followers, and her videos are being used in some elementary schools every day to teach the children a bit of sign language. Signing can be a bit tricky: some signs may look quite similar at first glance, but may mean very different things. To make sure there are no mistakes on the page, all Emily’s videos are being checked by an official sign language teacher before they are being posted online.
A lot has happened for Emily since starting Gesture of the Day. She has been on television, in newspapers and magazines and has her own app now. She has also received an award from the deaf society in Holland, and has recently given her first workshop ’Learn 25 Gestures with Emily’.
It is Emily’s dream that all children and adults in Holland can communicate with her sister one day. Therefore, she hopes all schools in Holland will join ‘Gesture of the Day’, and that all children will teach their parents the gestures they have learned in school.
As you may have noticed, I have used the term Dutch sign language everywhere, and Emily focuses on Holland. This is because sign language is different in every country. To show you how different, we like to share this video, in which people from 12 different countries sign ‘Merry Christmas and a happy New Year’ in their own sign language. Merry Christmas!
Want to learn Dutch sign language? Follow Emily on https://www.facebook.com/hetgebaarvandedag/
Emily and Annika
Emily giving her first workshop