SDR was founded in 1922 and is a politically and religiously independent association devoted to safeguarding the social, financial, linguistic and cultural interests of deaf people. Sign language is of central importance to all our activities, for our sense of community, our self-esteem and cultural identity. The need for sign language in all stages of life is a guiding star for all our activities.
Being a signing deaf person does not mean having a disability in the ordinary sense. We see ourselves as a linguistic minority. In a signing environment there is no handicap. A handicap arises, however, in contact with hearing people. The problems are not limited to hearing persons who cannot sign, but include a lack of interpreters, TV programs and films without captions, and information for the general public in Swedish which is hard to understand.
Language is a fundamental right for every individual. Through our language we achieve communication with other persons, can exchange thoughts and develop our consciousness. Communication in sign language is not only a necessity for deaf people but also a bridge between deaf and hearing and a prerequisite for the active social participation of the deaf in society. Contact with people who cannot sign is conducted mainly with the help of sign language interpreters. The main obstacle for us is the lack of understanding and ignorance concerning our special culture, problems and needs. Add to this the weakened national economy, the consequences of which require us to struggle incredibly hard to even come close to experiencing the amount of culture and participation on the social, linguistic, technical and civic levels that are natural for hearing people.