NOW-Us! Special: winner of the NOW-Us! Award 2018

The NOW-Us! experiences of HandSpeak Vietnam

agenda May 28, 2019

In 2018 The Spindle and Voice decided to collaborate on a brand-new project called NOthing about us, Without Us! (NOW-Us!). During the months June and July we worked hard to spread the word: we invite those entrepreneurial souls who are the southern frontrunners in inclusive development to join the NOW-Us! Award! An amazing number of 319 initiatives found their way to the NOW-Us! Award. What followed was a selection process in which a special jury determined which initiatives made it to the final 10. For HandSpeak Vietnam the start of an exciting time: they were one of the ten teams that got invited to join the NOW-Us! Week in the Netherlands and it was their initiative that eventually won the first NOW-Us! Award! Will you win the NOW-Us! Award in 2019?

The project of HandSpeak Vietnam
HandSpeak Vietnam is an organisation by deaf people, for the deaf community. They focus on empowering deaf people with sign language through knowledge sharing, training and awareness raising in order to build a strong and independent deaf community. HandSpeak came out with a project named ‘Brighten Vietnamese Sign Language’, which takes the initiative to provide training courses continuously in one year, covering important topics relating to the deaf community.

That winning feeling
For the NOW-Us! jury it was a foregone conclusion that HandSpeak Vietnam had to win since the uniqueness of such a project in a country where sign language is not developed at all. Jury foreman Farzaneh Moazzeni said: “HandSpeak Vietnam tries to unite everyone in their country when it comes to sign language. The project team also excelled because of their enormous passion, effort and perfect collaboration. They know how to accomplish a lot with limited resources and under difficult circumstances. The jury is absolutely sure that HandSpeak Vietnam will use the prize money in a way so that they can accomplish even more for the deaf community that receives far too little attention in Vietnam.” During the Award ceremony at the Partos Innovation Festival, HandSpeak Vietnam could hardly believe that they had won: “A dream came true!”.

Looking back on NOW-Us! with HandSpeak Vietnam
“Looking back at our time in the Netherlands, we still feel amazed by the people we have met and what they are contributing to their communities. It was a great experience for us to share, learn and connect with others during the NOW-Us! Week. NOW-Us! is a great opportunity for you and your project to grow. Not only in terms of the prize money (if you were one of the winners) but it also gives you the chance to meet up with amazing people from different countries, participate in workshops, get advice from professionals and develop your project. We’ve gained a lot of experience and valuable knowledge from the NOW-Us! Week. Especially the workshops helped us a lot with our planning, building tools and cooperating with other partners.

Thanks to this week, HandSpeak has received a huge opportunity to grow our project and to strength our organization. The prize money is used for 11 training courses for deaf people in three provinces of Vietnam. This greatly contributes to the development of sign language and capacity building for the deaf community in Vietnam. We are going to organize our first training course in May and continue with monthly training courses afterwards.”

NOW-Us! gives you the chance to meet up with amazing people from different countries, participate in workshops, get advice from professionals and develop your project!

Do you want to join NOW-Us! 2019?
This year, The Spindle and Voice have joined forces for the second edition of the NOW-Us! Award. The NOW-Us! Award seeks to honour initiatives from Africa and Asia that have long fought for inclusion and diversity, leading to self-empowerment of marginalised and excluded groups and communities. The 10 shortlisted initiatives win a 5-day trip to the Netherlands to participate in the NOW-Us! Week and eventually stand the chance to win the NOW-Us! Award. Check out all the information you need for joining the second edition of NOW-Us!


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