Family Life

Huawei extends StorySign to improve storytime for deaf kids in Ireland

In honour of the International Day of Sign Languages (September 23) leading Global Technology company Huawei extends its StorySign campaign to improve storytime for Deaf children in Ireland.

At a day of storytelling and activities with Karen Koster at Dublin Zoo, Huawei reaffirmed its commitment to supporting Ireland’s Deaf community. The leading technology company announced further investment in StorySign, a free app developed to bring the joy of story time to Deaf children, with the addition of four new books to the StorySign Library and the launch of the app on iOS, making it available to more families with Deaf children, regardless of which smartphone they own.

Pioneered by Huawei, the app has been downloaded over 40,000 times since its launch in December 2018, creating an authentic reading experience that truly helps enrich story time for Deaf children and their parents. 

Byron Maxi, Huawei Ireland’s Country Director said, “At Huawei, we believe that when you bring together human imagination with the power of our Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology, we can do something for the greater good.”

“Huawei has worked closely with the Irish Deaf Society throughout the StorySign campaign to raise awareness of Deaf literacy issues and develop the app as a long-term resource that grows over time and continues to benefit the Deaf community in Ireland.”

Commenting on why StorySign can now be used on any smartphone Walter Ji, President of Huawei’s Western Europe Consumer Business Group, said: “At Huawei, we want to use our technology to make the world a better place – no matter where you live or what smartphone you use – whether it’s Android or iOS.

34 percent of the people who have downloaded the free StorySign app have become daily active users, which reinforces our commitment to helping more deaf children learn to read and makes us proud to continue developing and expanding StorySign.”

John Sherwin, CEO Irish Deaf Society commented further, “Education tools that enhance the use of Irish Sign Language at home are vital when tackling early development of language, cognition and literacy. 

“The Irish Deaf Society are proud to support Huawei with its long-term vision to help open the world of books to Deaf children through StorySign. The expansion of the StorySign library, a new language and wider availability mark an important step towards helping Deaf children enjoy story time.”

At Sunday’s event at Dublin Zoo families were treated to special performances by the Cabra Deaf Choir. The children from the choir who attend the Holy Family School for the Deaf in Cabra, Dublin have benefited from the StorySign app and experienced first-hand the unique experience it affords them to enjoy story time. 

At the event Huawei Ireland also premiered a new short film directed by Oscar winning director Chis Overton, bringing StorySign to life with a local Dublin family with two deaf children, Bobby and Sophia.

StorySign, the free mobile app is available on both Android and iOS, and comes alive with Star, the app’s friendly signing avatar developed in partnership with world-class studio Aardman and input from experts in the deaf community. Star translates a range of popular children’s books into sign language in real-time, creating a seamless reading experience and allowing deaf children to enjoy story time, no matter what.

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