Sign language, like foreign languages, needs to be learned and constantly repeated to master it. I was impressed by the pilot project of the inPlaninec Committee, or the Working group called A Decisive Step for Blind and Visually Impaired People to Learn the Slovenian Sign Language. I decided to join because I love to learn, and I have been wandering along our mountain hiking trails with the physically and otherwise handicapped for some time.

Potek pouka z Natalijo Spark

In doing that, I was overwhelmed by memories of my youth. When I started going to primary school, a lady who was deaf married into our town. She was tidy and pleasant and took good care of the family. I started visiting them, and she taught me the two-handed manual alphabet. We got along very well, and I visited her to read the magazine to which she was subscribed. I have fond memories of the lady, and now I have realised that I still know the two-handed manual alphabet, but the one-handed is now more used.

The exciting project came to life to the fullest. We are taught by the amazing Natalija Spark, who caught our attention as an excellent lecturer. Participants are aged 7 to 73 years. Already at the first lecture, we listened to her with great interest. We learned the one-handed manual alphabet and some of the terms, and we did well. We even got homework. In the second lecture, we revised what we had previously learned. Natalija taught us interrogative words, related gestures and some new terms and words. There is always an interest to learn new words during the lecture, and Natalija likes to satisfy our curiosity.

Udeleženci vseh starosti

Learning sign language is really very interesting and challenging because many new things have to be memorised. We are aware that it will not go without effort, but this will not discourage us because our desire for knowledge is strong. We look forward to the following lecture.

Pregledovanje domače naloge

Something else interesting happened to me. I borrowed several films from the library, including the indescribably beautiful and excellent movie Mary’s Story, directed by Jean-Pierre Ameris. It is based on a true-life story set in 19th century France. It shows the life of a blind and deaf girl Marie Huertin. Although she was pushed to the margins of society, she rose from the bottom with the help of a kind-hearted nun and started living as a human being. In the movie, they mostly communicate in sign language. I find it interesting that this movie found me right now. When I have more knowledge, I will borrow it again.

I would recommend everyone to watch the film because it shows us that will and meaning can sometimes be found in darkness and silence. Above all, in these cruel times, it tells us what the words love, empathy, patience, devotion, connection and cooperation mean. If we are not living them, life is empty. The film is shocking, but it is also beautiful and full of emotions, and it gives us hope that many things can be achieved with strong will, even if they sometimes seem impossible.

The decisive step of my friends enriches me, and I love being in their company. Together we are heading towards new victories!

Marija Metlika (, volunteer

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Published by Slovenian Institute for Adult Education (SIAE), Šmartinska 134a, SI-1000 Ljubljana | Editor-in-chief: Zvonka Pangerc Pahernik, MSc (E: | Editor: Ana Peklenik (E: | Other members of the editorial board: Zvonka Pangerc Pahernik, MSc,  dr Nataša Potočnik, Directress of SIAE, dr Tanja Možina and Tanja Vilič Klenovšek, MA, Computer solution: Franci Lajovic (T: 01 5842 555, E: | Translation/proofreading: Mesto znanja, izobraževanje in svetovanje za osebno rast, Petra Cvek, s. p.  | Design: Larisa Hercog | Corrective reading: Zvonka Pangerc Pahernik, MSc, and Mateja Pečar | W: