In modern-day society, written language is an extremely valuable means of communication which provides access to culture and employment. Deaf people often have difficulties learning to read and write, and many deaf people are functionally illiterate. In a social context in which hearing is crucial and the written form of a spoken language is a main source of information, the deaf population has a high risk of unemployment and marginalization.
In most countries, illiteracy rates among the deaf are above 75%. In addition, very few prelingually deaf people reach higher levels of education. DEAFLI is a GRUNDTVIG project (538750-LLP-1-2013-1-ES) which will help deaf people to improve their language skills and their chances of employment. DEAFLI is a 10-lesson course designed to further the acquisition of key competences in the written language by young deaf people and deaf adults. DEAFLI aims to improve their education and to facilitate their access to the labour market in the participating countries (Spain, Austria, Italy and UK). New materials and resources will be developed for this purpose. DEAFLI uses multimedia technology for teaching and learning activities, incorporating a learning platform with a forum for participation and a DVD. Each partner develops their share of the lessons which are then adapted to the different languages of the consortium (Catalan, Italian, English and German), and the four sign languages of the partner countries: LSC (Catalan Sign Language), LIS (Italian Sign Language), BSL (British Sign Language) and ÖGS (Austrian Sign Language).
So far, the first four lessons have been developed (the topics are how to write formal and informal letters, how to write a CV and a cover letter, reading newspaper articles, and job search). DEAFLI includes videos with grammar explanations in the Sign Languages of the partner countries (in order to aid the deaf students' comprehension of the contents), as well as interactive exercises. The project uses the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages as a guideline.
On the website (currently under construction), the students can review the contents of all the lessons in their own written language and also in their national Sign Language.