The long running Lion Foundation Young Enterprise Scheme has historically been the starting point for a number of innovative new business ideas.
One of this year’s entries, from a group of Pakuranga College students, is certainly no exception.
Their business SLICNZ’s aim is to educate young people about the importance of New Zealand Sign Language.
As the group’s CEO, Ned Verrall, points out, “New Zealand has three national languages – Te Reo Māori, English and New Zealand Sign Language.
“Out of the 880,000 people who are deaf or hard of hearing within New Zealand, roughly 20,000 know how to use NZSL. This is around just 2 per cent of the deaf or hard of hearing population. We recognise that this is a problem, so we decided to try and come up with something that would help.”
The result is a pack of 52 standard playing cards, but with a twist. There are 13 designs included in the pack, with each design showing a character doing an NZSL sign, and the relevant translation in English below.
The colourful cards have been illustrated by local artist and former Pakuranga College student Shervonne Grierson and can be used to play a variety of games. Aimed at young people, Verrall says, “We are really hoping that they will generate some excitement around learning New Zealand Sign Language.”
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