Grants:Project/slevinski/Brazilian Sign Language Wikipedia Project

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Brazilian Sign Language Wikipedia Project
summaryClassroom training to write Wikipedia articles in Brazilian Sign Language.
targetBrazilian Sign Language Wikipedia on Incubator.
amount14,500 USD
nonprofitThe Center for Sutton Movement Writing, a 501c3 educational non-profit of California and Federally tax exempt.
contact• slevinski(_AT_)•
organization• The Center for Sutton Movement Writing
this project needs...
created on14:30, 16 December 2016 (UTC)
Escola Estadual de Educação Especial Dr. Reinaldo Fernando Cóser

Project idea[edit]

What is the problem you're trying to solve?[edit]

There are classrooms of skilled SignWriters in Brazilian schools and universities who are interested in learning to write Wikipedia articles in Brazilian Sign Language but they do not know how to use the MediaWiki software or how to navigate the Wikimedia projects. The information is available online in other languages, but not in their own language.

What is your solution?[edit]

A 5 week training tour in Brazil is planned that will target 5 Deaf schools in 5 different cities. The training will expose over 200 students, who are already writing their language with SignWriting, to the Brazilian Sign Language (LIBRAS) Wikipedia project on Incubator. Students will become familiar with the Wikimedia projects, Incubator, the MediaWiki software, and the usage of SignWriting within the MediaWiki environment.

Project goals[edit]

The student training will be conducted by a teacher, writer, and editor from the United States who is Deaf and an editor of the ASL Wikipedia. He will fly to Brazil to 5 well-known Brazilian schools where SignWriting is an established part of Deaf Education and Sign Language Education. Five workshops will be conducted in five schools. Over 200 students will learn to write articles in LIBRAS (Brazilian Sign Language) in SignWriting. They will learn how to post articles, edit sign language Wikipedias and work with other Wiki-related software in Brazilian Sign Language (LIBRAS).

Project plan[edit]


A 5 week trip is planned in Brazil that will include 5 different schools in 5 different cities. Each of these schools has expressed their interest in learning how to write articles in the Brazilian Sign Language Wikipedia, and they are excited about the possibilities of using the Brazilian Sign Language Wikipedia for education, research, literacy, and communications.

1. City of Florianópolis, State of Santa Catarina, Southern Brasil

for the SignWriting Research Group at the Federal University of Santa Catarina
Campus Reitor João David Ferreira Lima, s/n - Trindade, Florianópolis - SC, 88040-900, Brazil
Training class size of 25 Students
Official Letter of Interest

2. City of Santa Maria, State of Rio Grande do Sul, Southern Brasil

for the School for Deaf that uses SignWriting in Santa Maria
64 deaf students total
Official Letter of Interest

3. City of Fortaleza, State of Ceará, Northern Brazil

for the Federal University of Ceará that works the SW partnership with the School of the Deaf in Fortaleza
Training class size of 30 students
Official Letter of Interest

4. City of São Luís, State of Maranhão, Northern Brazil

for the Federal University of Maranhão - UFMA / Campus of São Luís
Training classes for 100 students
Official Letter of Interest

5. City of Ipiaú, State of Bahía, Central Brazil

for the deaf school Gere
152 deaf students total

Each of the schools will receive one week of training in the use of MediaWiki and the writing of sign language Wikipedia articles.

So far, we have received replies from 21 different schools in Brazil from 13 of the Brazilian states with a total of over 1,000 students. All of these school use SignWriting in the classroom. We were excited to find that there is even more activity in Brazil than we knew about. We have created a document listing all of the schools that have expressed interest in the Brazilian Wikipedia project. We will make our training material available to these schools online and encourage the coordination and cooperation of the various deaf schools around Brazil.

  1. State of Rio Grande do Sul (4 schools)
  2. State of Santa Catarina (2 schools)
  3. State of Paraná (1 school)
  4. State of São Paulo (1 school)
  5. State of Rio de Janeiro (1 school)
  6. State of Espírito Santo (1 school)
  7. State of Sergipe (1 school)
  8. State of Bahía (2 schools)
  9. State of Ceará (3 schools/projects)
  10. State of Piauí (1 school)
  11. State of Maranhão (2 schools)
  12. State of Acre (1 school)
  13. State of Amazonas (1 school)


We will be sending Adam Frost to Brazil to handle the classroom training. Adam is an experienced teacher and has been editing the American Sign Language Wikipedia.

  • Administration: 1,000 USD
  • Training development and materials: 2,000 USD
  • Food and lodging: 4,000 USD
  • In classroom training: 4,000 USD
  • Travel expenses: 3,500 USD

Community engagement[edit]

The target audience of Brazilian Sign Language users usually communicates by email or on Facebook.

The Brazilian Sign Language users and educators have yearly national conferences and they are active in the International communities of signers. They have many contacts with Portuguese Sign Language and some contact with Chilean Sign Language and other sign languages in the neighboring countries.

With the extensive and widespread training in Brazil, the sign language Wikipedia use in Brazil will naturally grow and encourage sign language Wikipedias in other sign languages as well.


There is a lot of interest in Brazil for a Brazilian Sign Language Wikipedia. The real world training in Brazil will enable the students to write their own articles and it will enable them to share their knowledge with others.

The specific training for the Brazilian Sign Language Wikipedia can be updated for other sign languages for future Wikipedia training.

Measures of success[edit]

The primary measurement of success for the training will be based on the number of editors and the number of articles in Brazilian Sign Language over time. The secondary measurement will be based on the spread of sign language Wikipedias in other sign languages.


Get involved[edit]


  • Valerie Sutton – Inventor of Sutton SignWriting who has been involved with the script for the past 42 years.
  • Adam Frost - Deaf editor of the ASL Wikipedia. Adam started working with Valerie in 2004. He has a Master's Degree in Linguistics from Gallaudet University and teaches ASL in several California Universities.

Community notification[edit]


Do you think this project should be selected for a Project Grant? Please add your name and rationale for endorsing this project below! (Other constructive feedback is welcome on the discussion page).

September 26 Proposal Deadline: Reminder to change status to 'proposed'[edit]

As posted on the Project Grants startpage, the deadline for submissions this round is September 26, 2017. To submit your proposal, you must (1) complete the proposal entirely, filling in all empty fields, and (2) change the status from "draft" to "proposed." As soon as you’re ready, you should begin to invite any communities affected by your project to provide feedback on your proposal talkpage.

Warm regards,
--Marti (WMF) (talk) 04:41, 26 September 2017 (UTC)