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For 22 years, together with people with deafblindness

Every day can be a gift, if you know how to receive it...

said Professor Vasile Adamescu, a friend and ambassador of people with deafblindness in Romania. Under this motto, we organised the National Conference ”Education of Children with Deafblindness: Together for 22 Years!”, on February 2 - 3 2023, in Bucharest.

The event marked the 22nd anniversary of Sense International Romania, 22 years of activity celebrated on February 2nd.

We were extremely honoured to have with us at this conference more than 60 participants, representatives of the Ministry of Education, partner special schools and universities. For two days, specialists in the education of children and young people with deafblindness shared experience and work methods under the three sub-themes of the conference: early intervention for babies born with sensory impairments, education for children with deafblindness and vocational services for youth with this type of disability.

Sens(e) Awards

On the evening of February 2nd, we celebrated our anniversary in the presence of His Excellency, the Ambassador of Great Britain in Romania, Andrew Noble, Kavita Prasad, Director of Sense International, parents, youth with deafblindness, partners, friends of supporters of the organisation.

On this wonderful occasion, we were honoured to present the Sens(e) Awards to some of those who have been by our side throughout the years, a first edition of these awards:

Nelumbo Foundation – Award for Trust and Support

Orange Foundation – Award for Impact and Friendship

Liana Mitran – Award for Excellence and Perseverance

Coca Vasiliu – Award for Excellence and Perseverance

Florica Stoica – Award for Excellence and Perseverance

Eva Oprea – Premiul de recunoaștere și implicare

Gabriela Jianu – Premiul de recunoaștere și implicare

Ioana Tufar – Premiul de recunoaștere și implicare

Cristian Buică-Belciu – Premiul de recunoaștere și implicare

Viorel Micu – Promotor al drepturilor persoanelor cu surdocecitate

”I Too Have a Voice!” Campaign

We have also organised an exhibition of clay works created by students from the 21 partner schools attending the I too have a voice! Campaign organised as part of the project The Voice of People with Deafblindness in Romania, implemented by the Foundation Sense International Romania in partnership with Sense International UK with financial support from Active Citizens Fund Romania, programme funded by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway through the EEA Grants 2014 -2021.

Here is what some of the participants shared:

A new lesson – EVERYTHING MAKES SENSE! I enjoyed everything in this conference, the involvement, the project, the achievements and the presence of so many wonderful people coming to our support, us who carry various unseen and unheard problems. Thank you!

E.S. young woman with deafblindness in Sense International Romania programmes.

Happy Birthday, Sense International Romania! Thank you for the meaning you give year after year to project meant for children and young people with deafblindness and multisensory impairments! It has been an honour for me to meet you and attend such a learning environment. This exchange of experience is beneficial to all partners in special education. Together with my colleagues from the Special Technological Highschool Gheorghe Atanasiu in Timisoara, we will continue running beautiful projects together!

L.B. teacher

I spent 2 days together with true professionals in the field of deafblindness, 2 days where we gained from the expertise of practitioners and co-created new contexts and directions. Thank you to the Sense International Romania team for this wonderful opportunity to learn and share experience, such useful!
M.D., teacher

The most beautiful gift for Cristina

Our colleague Cristina Botezatu will donate her birthday this year to children and young people with deafblindness from the Sense International Romania projects. Why is she doing this? Here is the reason why:

Recently, I went on a trip into the mountains organised by Sense International Romania together with 19 young people with deafblindness. I wanted to understand them better, to enter their world with out colour or sound, if only for a little bit.

With my eyes covered, using a red and white cane in my right hand, I walked a few meters. After the first steps with no visual clues, the legs I only rely on when hiking because unsecure. A few more steps later, I got completely confused and lost direction. Minutes seemed as long as a dark night, I couldn't wait to see again.

So I decided that this year I would donate my birthday to children and young people who canno rely on their sight, hearing and, sometimes, legs. I wish that we are by their side on my birthday, December 5th, as well as in all other days.

The most beautiful gift you can make to me is a donation for Sense International Romania. Your gift for me will turn into support for them: trips and activities that challenge tem and help them feel included.

Thank you for your generosity and I wish you to enjoy everything you live, see and hear! 

Deafblindness is when…

Deafblindness in when...

What is deafblindness? What are the challenges and difficulties faced by people with deafblindness?

”Deafblindness is when you can't hear at all or partially; you see a little or nothing at all"

concluded Iulian, one of the young people attending the first workshop organised as part of the project The Voice of People with Deafblindness in Romania. The workshop took place in November 3 - 6, in Predeal. A group of 19 young women and men with deafblindness, together with 3 parents, 3 accompanying teachers and the Sense International Romania team, took together their first steps in becoming a group of people with deafblindness.

How can we make deafblindness better known and understood by the others?

”By becoming a group, attending activities together and telling others that we are with deafblindness”

are just some of the ideas shared by Delia, a young participant with deafblindness.

Why become a group of people with deafblindness?

Emina, a participant to the workshop, beautifully summarised the group discussions on this theme:

”Because it is important that we are all united by a goal, a plan or a project, because we must pay attention to one another, trust each other and our own successes. As a group, we share pleasant activities, we get to know our qualities, find solutions to our problems, and group experiences help us all. We get to know reasons to appreciate one another, to accept our qualities and impairments, we learn the couraje to evolve, we learn to live happy moments at our meetings. We learn to smile and be happy about our successes.”

The participants familiarised themselves with the red and white cane, recently selected as a symbol of deafblindness by the World Federation of the Deafblind, while using it in a outdoor hiking trip. They created and acted in plays about accessibility, the right to work, to participate to the political life, freedom and safety, starting from an easy-to-read version of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities. In the end, using paint, paint brushes and palms, they created beautiful paintings starting from words such as freedom, opportunity, equality, respect and equal access, as they imagined it.

This workshop was the first in a series of four such activities where we aim to identify a group of 40 people with deafblindness, a group that has a voice, know and fight for their rights.

The project "The Voice of people with Deafblindness in Romania" is implemented by the Foundation Sense International Romania in partnership with Sense International UK, with financial support from Active Citizens Fund Romania, programme funded by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway through the EEA Grants Grants 2014 -2021. The content of this material does not necessarily reflect the official position of the EEA and Norway Grants 2014-2021; for more information visit www.eeagrants.org

e-Sense: a set of exercises and platform for the education of children with deafblindness

Dear teachers, parents, journalists and partners, Sense International Romania and Code for Romania invite you to attend the online workshop e-Sense, that will take place on Wednesday, November 9th 2022, starting with 2 PM (connection link: https://us06web.zoom.us/j/83439702558?pwd=eXdHTWNnRVdlOHZVQ2NUUzlPTFFZdz09).

e-Sense is a digital instrument created to be used in the therapeutical and educational intervention for children with deafblindness and multisensory impairments. e-Sense has two components: one is an app of visual, hearing and cognitive exercises organised in four distinct types of activities in accordance with the national curriculum for the education of children with deafblindness: stimulation, identification, localisation and discrimination. The second component is a platform that allows schools, teachers and parents to monitor children's progress.

Together with our partners, The Professional Special School for Children with Hearing IMpairments "Sfanta Maria" Bucharest, Special Technological Highschool "Vasile Pavelcu" Iasi, School Center for Inclusive Education "Cristal" Oradea, School Center for Inclusive Education Nr. 2 Sibiu and School Center for Inclusive Education "Constantin Pufan" Timisoara, we hope that you will join our workshop to learn more about this new, free and extremely easy to use digital instrument.

The project e-Sense is funded by Orange Foundation through he programme The World through Colour and Sound.

Seaside, we finally meet!

Seaside, sun, great times and thirst for knowledge, exploration, relaxation and involvement from everyone.

We want a change, a change for the better for us all! - thus we spent 3 days of real life stories, end of August, together with the group of young people with deafblindness and their families, during the workshop ”Education with Sense International”, part of the project funded by Nelumbo Foundation and Sense International UK.

We talked about Sense International Romania programmes and projects, about the meaning of deafblindness, we discussed a lot about safeguarding and how personal safety and well-being is important wherever we are. We talked about how each of us has a duty to take care of oneself and of others. Together, we are a team! We talked about rights and responsibilities, and how the needs we each have can become a starting point for a strategic plan and future projects for Sense International Romania.

Among the new projects we implement, we talked about the need of developing a group of people with deafblindness in a more involved, active wat, finding new people with deafblindness to join the group and how important it is to be represented when we tackle the issue of respecting rights.

After the work session, we enjoyed walking about and seeing the sea from up above the cablecar, we attended the wonderful shows of dolphins and sealions in Constanta. We kindly thank CSMN Constanta for providing us with free access.

We thank our participants for the valuable information provided, their involvement and positive energy. You are an inspiration for us all!

More photos here.

Helen Keller with SENSE

As every year in the month of June, Sense International Romania has held together with partner schools from all over the country programmes meant to celebrate the person with deafblindness famous worldwide - Helen Keller. The aim has been to increase awareness and knowledge about deafblindness. This year, we did this together with 18 schools from Arad, Bucharest, Buzău, Craiova, Cluj-Napoca, Iași, Oradea, Focșani, Galați, Sibiu, Târgu Frumos and Timișoara.

Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much. - Helen Keller

Around 1000 talented pupils attended multisensory stimulation workshops and activities. Among them, there were painting and sculpture workshops, workshops to create jewels and ornaments, sensory and sports tracks, outdoor hikes, theater, cooking workshops, typography activities and many more.

None of these could have happened without the commitment of the teachers involved, who made sure everything happened in a safe and pleasant environment, with lots of smiles and fun.

You can find more pictures on our Facebook page using the hashtag #helenkeller2022.

Voice of people with deafblindness

 PRESS RELEASE

Bucharest, June 27th, 2022

 The Foundation Sense International Romania has launched today the project The Voice of People with Deafblindness in Romania. June 27th is The International Day of People with Deafblindness, celebrated worldwide to draw attention upon the rights of people with deafblindness.

People with deafblindness  in Romania represent an extremely vulnerable group, who are marginalized, isolated, and suffer from inequalities and social exclusion. The combination of the two impairments, visual and hearing, raises barriers in accessing services of all kinds, given the major difficulties in communication, orientation and mobility, in accessing information, as well as the lack of interpreters specialised in deafblindness.

According to international estimates from 2018, the prevalence of deafblindness is 0.2-2% of the population, meaning between 40,000 – 400,000 people affected in Romania.

Our project, The Voice of People with Deafblindness in Romania, aims to lay the groundwork and increase the capacity of a group of people with deafblindness to become a voice capable of fighting for their rights, through meetings meant to empower them and provide them with the tools for self-representation, aiming at establishing a representative association of people with deafblindness.

To ensure their access to the services they need, the project will train a group of sign language interpreters to specialise in deafblindness, a field that interpreters currently have little knowledge of. In parallel, the project will increase the level of awareness, though national campaigns dedicated to improved knowledge and understanding of deafblindness.

Sense International Romania will support people with deafblindness cu have a voice, to be seen and heard, gaining the capacity to advocate for the social inclusion of the entire group of people with deafblindness in Romania.

Project implemented by Sense International Romania in partnership with Sense International UK with the financial support of the Active Citizens Fund Romania, programme funded by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway through the EEA Grants 2014-2021.

 About Sense Internațional România

Sense International Romania is a Romanian organisation established in 2001 with the aim to improve the life of people with deafblindness and multisensory impairments in our country. SIR is the only organisation in Romania actively fighting for the rights of people with deafblindness. Through national level programmes that promote the early intervention foe babies born with sensory impairments, the education of children with deafblindness/MSI and the provision of vocational services, SIR manages to bring a change for the better in the life of hundreds of people with this type of disability. Our field of interest is represented by 4 major strategic directions: promoting the rights of people with deafblindness, health, education and social inclusion.

www.surdocecitate.ro/en/

About Active Citizens Fund Romania

The Active Citizens Fund Romania programme is funded through the EEA Grants 2014-2021. The overall objective of the Grants is to reduce economic and social disparities, and to strengthen bilateral relations between 15 beneficiary countries and the Donor States (Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway). The programme is administered by a consortium composed of Civil Society Development Foundation, Romanian Environmental Partnership Foundation, Resource Center for Roma Communities, PACT Foundation and Frivillighet Norge, acting as Fund Operator designated by FMO – Financial Mechanism Office of the EEA and Norway Grants. The objectives of the Active Citizens Fund Romania are to strengthen civil society and active citizenship and to empower vulnerable groups. With a total allocation of 46,000,000 euro, the programme pursues a long-term development of the civil society sector sustainability and capacity, stepping up its role in promoting democratic participation, active citizenship and human rights, while strengthening bilateral relations with organizations from the Donor States, Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway. For more information about the Active Citizens Fund in Romania, please go to www.activecitizensfund.ro. For more information about the EEA and Norway Grants, go to www.eeagrants.org.

 

Launching The Voice of People with Deafblindness in Romania

The Foundation Sense International Romania invites you on Monday, June 27th 2022, between 12.00 – 13.00 EET, to the launching of the project The Voice of People with Deafblindness in Romania. The event will take place online, in Zoom.

Those who wish to attend our event are kindly asked to send an e-mail to contact@surdocecitate.ro and they will recevie the link.

June 27th is The International Day of People with Deafblindness, celebrated worldwide to draw attention upon the rights of people with deafblindness, which is why we chose this special day to invite you to join us online.

The project The Voice of People with Deafblindness in Romania aims to lay the basis and increase the capacity of a group of people with deafblindness, so that they become a voice able to fight for their rights. To ensure their access to the services they require, the project will specialise in a group of sign language interpreters in the field of deafblindness. In parallel, the project will increase the level of awareness through national campaigns to better know and understand deafblindness. The project will support people with deafblindness to have a voice, to be seen and heard.

Project implemented by Sense International Romania in partnership with Sense International UK with the financial support of the Active Citizens Fund Romania, programme funded by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway through the EEA Grants 2014-2021.

We look forward to seeing you,

Sense International Romania Team

“The course which helps you grow both intelectually and emotionally”

“Cover your eyes with a dark scarf and go to the kitchen for a glass of water.”

With our eyes covered or tightly closed, we rise from our seats in front of the laptop to meet the challenge launched by Eva Oprea, special education teacher and one of the trainers of the introductory course in deafblindness.

This is the fourth live session and we are experiencing for a few moments how a visually impaired person feels like when doing simple tasks. A student says she stopped for several times on the otherwise familiar way to the kitchen, while someone else says that she felt frustrated to pour water next to the glass because she could not coordinate her moves without seeing.

“When you have impaired vision, it’s much harder to do simple tasks. We don’t realize this until we have a similar experience. It’s one thing to understand it rationally and a completely different thing to feel it,” says Eva Oprea in the introduction of her chapter on orientation and mobility.

What is deafblindness and which are its causes, how people with visual and hearing impairments communicate, details about orientation and mobility, personal and social development, methods of intervention and the specifics of deafblindness in children, adults and elderly people were the topics addressed during the second edition of the introductory course in deafblindness, organized between February 28th and April 15th.

For seven weeks, 21 participants with different background- students, teachers, special education specialists, social workers and speech therapists – learned basic elements about deafblindness, which they can use both in their personal, and professional lives.

The second edition of the online course was special because two deafblind people were among the participants, and also the mother of a girl with this deficiency, who shared the challenges she faces. They all participated in the course as beneficiaries of the Vasile Adamescu scholarship.

“I am grateful for this experience! I learned many new things and I hope I will be able to help others in the future, ”says A.P.

The course was accessible to deafblind people with the help of the two sign language interpreters, Ioana Tufar and Mădălina Simion.

The four trainers, associate professor dr. Cristian Buică-Belciu, assistant professor dr. Ioana Tufar, psychologist Gabriela Jianu and psychopedagogue Eva Oprea warmly shared information, resources and practical examples, which helped participants to understand the world of people with deafblindness.

“It was very interesting how the specialists shared theoretical information mixed with real situations from their experience. This made learning much easier, and the knowledge will stay with me and will definitely help me in the future, in my career as a psychopedagogue “, says I.M.

The practical examples also created an engaging learning environment for participants who are already working with people with disabilities.

“The course was a pleasant, engaging and captivating learning and training experience. In addition to the theoretical aspects, the trainers presented many examples of good practice, in an interesting, motivating and interactive way. The information was condensed, with many practical examples. It will definitely contribute to my professional development! ”- G.L.

The students recommend the course to both specialists and to those who have people with deafblindness in their family.

“The way the trainers presented the information and the examples they gave helped us understand the needs of people with this condition, but also created a clearer vision regarding the way they communicate, and how the intervention and their integration must be carried out. ”- G.L.

“It’s a course you have to take in order to learn information from specialists, but also to be prepared for unexpected situations that you may encounter.” – L.U.

“I highly recommend this course, because it helps you grow both intelectually and emotionally I believe that anyone interested in deafblindness should attend this course, as there is a considerable difference, which cannot be expressed in words, between the mentality and the ideas you begin with and the mentality and ideas you finish with. ”- I.M.

Again “in the height”, at 2000m altitude!

At the end of March, the Sense International Romania team together with a group of pupils with deafblindness and multisensory impairments, parents and teachers from partner schools from Arad, Iasi, Sibiu and Timisoara, spent a few sunny days in the fresh mountain air in Predeal, in the second orientation and mobility trip this year.

In the short period of time spent together we got to know each other better, we played, we created true unique works of art and, above all, unforgettable beautiful moments. The first day was dedicated to workshops on knowledge and social skills development, creative skills development at team level, and the next day we enjoyed an outdoor trip to Sinaia. Besides a beautiful walk to the Peles Castle, the pupils and their companions also had a surprise – we climbed by cable car to the 2000 altitude where we found a lot of snow and intensely ozonated air. For some of the participants, it was a unique experience being the first time with the cable car and how we master our fear and joy, the first time on a mountain top, the first time you went on a trip with Sense.

"Thank you and maybe we will all see each other again! We embrace the whole group, children, teachers, organizers, wishing you health, growth in everything and if there will be another meeting, let's see you happy! Thanks to the organizers!"
F.C. professor

"I spent wonderful moments with you!"
T.S. professor

"And this time congratulations and thanks to SENSE, especially the team that accompanied us!!!"
C.T. parent

”I thought it was going to be an activity like any other with 3 long and boring days for me, now I wonder when they passed so quickly and how pleasant everything was."
Z.D, professor

Next comes the third orientation and mobility trip, planned at the beginning of May. Stay tuned!
More pictures from the trip here.

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