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February 21, 2019

International Mother Language Day 2019 commemorated in Belize

Posted: Thursday, February 21, 2019. 11:32 am CST.

By BBN Staff:Today, International Mother Language is celebrated under the theme: “Indigenous languages matter for development, peacebuilding and reconciliation”.

International Mother Language Day (IMLD) is celebrated every year on February 21st with the overall objective to promote linguistic diversity and multilingual education.

UNESCO believes that  every  mother  tongue  deserves  to  be  known, recognized, and given  greater prominence in all spheres of public life. However, this is not always the case. Mother tongues do not necessarily have national-language status, official-language status, or status as the language of instruction.

According to UNESCO,  nearly  40 percent of the world’s population lack access to education in a language which they speak or understand.  This  situation  persists  despite  studies  showing  that  the  command  of  a  mother  tongue  facilitates  general  learning  and  learning  of  other  languages.

Indigenous  peoples  have  always  expressed  their  desire  for  education  in  their  own  languages, as set out in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

The National Garifuna Council (NGC) in Belize is  paving the way for the future with Gulisi Primary School and looking for support to have Garifuna being taught in the schools within Garifuna Communities in Belize.

Anyone wishing to provide support to the organization can contact them at  [email protected]. Today, NGC celebrates International Mother Language Day with the words of Jorge Bernardez that capture the importance of language:

“Lau wañeñe warufudagua waungua katañadiwa lan.”

Our language is the vehicle of our cultural expression and identity.


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