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Romanian-Norwegian partnership

Between 20 and 23 May 2019, the Sense International Romania Foundation, represented by Etelka Tzondi, Director, and Ramona Antonie, Program Coordinator, visited services offered by the Signo Foundation in Norway.

Services offered by Signo Foundation from Norway

Thus, the resource centers of the Signo Foundation in Andebu and Oslo (education and vocational services for children, young people and adults with deafblindness in Norway) were visited, meetings were held with specialists from the organisation and the development of joint activities in the future was discussed. The Sense International Romania team also met with Mr Geir Jensen, President of the World Federation for the Deafblindness, based in Oslo, where we discussed the Global Report on Deafblindness, conducted by the Federation in 2018.

Etelka Czondi, Geir Jansen, Ramona Antonie, Knut Rune Saltes

This visit was an activity carried out through the Inclusion with Meaning project: Building partnerships between Sense International Romania and organisations in Norway with the aim of meaningful inclusion in the education system for children with deafblindness and sensory impairments, a project funded as part of the call for proposals for bilateral initiatives aimed at identifying partners for projects carried out in partnership with the donor states, the development of bilateral partnerships and projects under the „Local Development” Programme.


18 Years! We Have Come of Age!

On February 2nd, Sense International Romania turns 18 years old! 18 years of learning, step by step, to make the wishes, the dreams, the successes as well as the difficulties of people with deafblindness in Romania seen and heard.

What were our plans and what are our successes? 18 reasons of joy

  1. Deafblindness – we wanted and we succeeded to make deafblindness better and better known. In 2001, when the organisation was established, the word deafblindness didn’t even exist.
  2. Information – We spent the past 2 years organizing ample information  campaigns around deafblindness: with Sensabilitate Caravane, together with Mr. Vasile Adamescu, we visited 12 towns all over Romania, inviting hundreds of people of all ages to step inside the Sensory Tent, with their eyes and ears covered, to experiment deafblindness.
  3. Promotion – With the support of Calin Goia (Voltaj), we aired on TV and online, a video where he explains deafblindness. More recently, in December 2018, 22 great Romanian sports champions also covered their eyes and ears during the campaign Born for Sports, drawing attention on people with deafblindness.
  4. Awareness – Every year, in June, hundreds of children in special schools all over the country, together with teachers and parents, celebrate the International Helen Keller Week through activities that emphasize the fact that people with deafblindness can be active and equal members of the society, if they are given the opportunity and support needed. Recently, we started holding such activities with children on December 3, the International Day of People with Disabilities.
  5. Legislation – We succeeded more than just creating a word: deafblindness was recognized as a distinct disability by Law 448/2006.  Two more pieces of legislation have provisions around the education and early intervention for children with deafblindness and multisensory impairments.
  6. Partnerships – Ever since 2001, all our work was done based on a partnership agreement with the Ministry of Education, as well as over 40 schools, hospitals, local authorities, universities, other organisations from the country and abroad.
  7. Education – Over 500 children with deafblindness and multisensory impairments have had access to quality education services, in classes with a small number of children, in schools where we trained the teachers in the field of deafblindness and we provided sensory equipment and materials.
  8. Early intervention – Over 200 babies and small children befitted from early intervention services in 4 specialized centres, so that they have increased chance to a harmonious development.
  9. Curriculum – Together with Romanian specialists, we developed a curriculum for the education of children with deafblindness, as well as one for early intervention for children 0-3 years old, both documents included in legislation.
  10. Vocational workshops – over 240 young people with deafblindness and multisensory impairments have learned and still learn a trade in the 8 vocational workshops established together with 9 schools and local authorities. Some of them are already employed in the field that they study.
  11. Courses – We held training courses for more than 200 teachers and specialists, some of them also benefiting from training abroad.
  12. National trainers – To ensure the sustainability of the professional training of teachers, we established a group of 11 national trainers in the field of deafblindness.
  13. Orientation and mobility camps – over 22 children and young people attended orientation and mobility camps for the past 5 years, acquiring practical skills for an independent living.
  14. Hearing screening and visual testing – Throughout the 10 years of early intervention, we facilitated the hearing screening of over 100,000 babies and the visual testing of more than 19,000 babies.
  15. Network – In time, we established a national network in the field of deafblindness, with annual meetings of specialists in the field, national and international conferences, numerous seminars and workshops on this topic.
  16. Sensabilitate – We created the first online platform in Romania accessible for people with sensory impairments, www.sensabilitate.ro, a key resource with information about deafblindness.
  17. Knowledge – We developed various specialized materials, we facilitated the translation of numerous books and articles, the majority of these are free to access on the platform Sensabilitate.
  18. Companies – During the past 5 years, we convinced over 70 small or large companies to contribute, financially and materially, to our projects. We thank them and we are deeply grateful!

We continue to believe that every step ahead is a MAJOR success and we bravely enter the adulthood of the organisation alongside children and young people in our project, their families and long term dear partners and friends!

Vasile Adamescu – a life dedicated to the rights of people with deafblindness

On December 6th 2018, Professor Vasile Adamescu passed away. It is an extremely sad moment for all those who knew him, as well as for those who know how special he was. Despite lacking both vision and hearing, Vasile Adamescu Graduated university, became a teacher for children with deafblindness, wrote books, knew five foreign languages, he was a sculptor and fought to promote the rights of people with deafblindness. Since 2015, he was a member on the Board of Sense International Romania.

It is difficult to describe in words the feelings we have, which is why we invite you to read about his life in Vasile Adamescu’s own words:

I was born on September 5th 1944, in the village Borcea, Ialomita County. I was the second born of my parents, Zamfir and Voica, poor but hardworking peasants. Until the age of 2, my life was normal. Unfortunately, I lost my mother prematurely, due to a simple cold. Not long after that, a tragedy fell upon me> while my family was out working the fields, I was left home in the care of an aunt. I fell asleep outside, on the porch, and a cold autumn rain started, which made me catch a bad cold. As treatments back then were only those traditionally known by my grandmother, she treated me the best way she could. A few months later, I lost the most elementary senses, vision and hearing. My father took me to see doctors, but it was in vain.

Until the age of 11, I lived in darkness and in silence, after which I was taken to the School for the Blin din Cluj. Florica Sandu, a bright teacher, managed the impossible, teaching me how to speak, read and write….

I graduated highschool and then I started University, learning Special Education, which I graduated in 1977. I became a teacher at the same school where I had studied, and I spent 30 years as a teacher there. Between 1983-1986, I studied sculpture at the Popular School of Arts. I loved sculpture since childhood. I learned new methods of working in clay, making vehicles, animals and buildings.

In 2010, I received the Honorary Citizen of Cluj. One year later, a received the title The Person with Disabilities of Year 2011. Since 2015, I became a member on the Board of Directors of Sense International Romania. In 2018, I received the title Promoter of the Rights of People with Deafblindness in Romania.

Recently, after many years of hard work, I managed to publish Volumes 1 and 2 of my autobiography, names „Confronting Life”.

The funeral will take place on Saturday, December 8th 2018, at 11.45, in Floresti, Cluj Conty. All those who wish to pay homage, are welcomed.

Close your eyes, cover your ears, open your soul!

For December 3, The International Day of People with Disabilities, the Association Junior Sport in partnership with the Foundation Sense International Romania and the producer of sports equipment ANCADA, together with great champions of Romanian sports, launched the campaign BORN FOR SPORTS, a campaign dedicated to children with deafblindness.

Born for sports

Valeria van Groningen Răcilă – Olympic champion in rowing, Ecaterina Oancia – multiple Olympic and world champion in rowing, Silvia Stroescu – Olympic champion in artistic gymnastics, Alina Alexandra Dumitru – Olympic and European Judo champion, Irina Deleanu – world bronze medalist in rhythmic gymnastics and president of the Romanian Federation of Rhythmic Gymnastics, Dorina Gabriela Mihai – world fencing champion, Monica Iagăr – athlete, European high jump champion, Traian Rus – multiple world and European Kempo champion, Alin Romulus Păcurar – absolute Balkan champion, multiple European medalist in free fighting and Honored Master of Sports, Hajnal Iuliu – a legend of Romanian football, Gruia Docan – Holder of 4 dan Kyokushin Karate and president of the Romanian Federation of Kyokushin, Nicu Dobre – President of the Romanian Oina Federation, Ștefan Sandulache – former basketball player, currently Director of Bucharest Department for Sports and Youth, Mircea Barna – former captain of the national basketball team and owner of ANCADA sports equipment producer, Theo Matican – multiple medalist in national and international swimming, skiing and cycling competitions for people with disabilities, the young sports champions Nicolas Luca Lupu – fencing golden medalist, Miriam Ciolacu – football player and athlete with numerous trophies and medals, Monica Elena Duca – double world champion in acrobatic dancing, Andrei Victor Păcurar – multiple gold medalist in free fighting, Andrei Sandulache – basketball player, Alina Alexoi – National Romanian Television TV reporter and Andrei Pralea – Business Manager at ANCADA, launched the sporting equipment collection called BORN FOR SPORTS.

Through a series of suggestive photos, as well as a video, these 22 participants to the campaign sent a heartwarming message supporting the cause of children with deafblindness:

„I, born for sports, take into account the fact that beyond the sports community that I am part of, there are people with deafblindness, who can neither see nor hear about my performance. Yet, through my gesture, I bring light and sound into their life. Close your eyes, cover your ears, open your soul!“

The sporting equipment producer ANACADA will donate 30% of the sporting equipment sales from the collection BORN FOR SPORTS to these children! We thank the professional photographers for their probono support: Florian Gîndilă (Bucharest) and Iosif Vajnar (Pixel Prosport Târgu Mureș).

But… what is deafblindess?
Deafblindness is a severe multisensory impairment, most times associated with other types of disability, generating major difficulties in communication, access to information, orientation and mobility.
Among world well-known people with deafblindness, we can mention Francisco Goya – the famous Spanish painter who became deaf and blind in his last years of life, Helen Keller – a famous American writer, the first person with deafblindness who graduated college and our own Vasile Adamescu – a Romanian teacher and artist, who lost both his vision and hearing when he was a child, and now, he is the biggest promoter of the rights of people with deafblindness in Romania.
The Foundation Sense International Romania is the only organisation in our country working for the benefit of children with deafblindness, since 2001. Along the years, this organisation supported over 500 children through high quality education services, initiated the early intervention programme for babies born with sensory impairments and now is mainly focusing on young people with deafblindness, providing them with the opportunity to lean an independent life through the vocational programme.

We are looking for a colleague :)

We are looking for a colleague to enthusiastically join a small, but dedicated team, supporting people with deafblindness.

Imagine your life without being able to perceive light or sounds. This is the life of people with deafblindness, a life beyond senses. Our mission is to make sure, through our projects, that people with deafblindness have access to counselling, opportunities and support, becoming active members of the society.
#dincolodesimturi #surdocecitate #beyondsenses #deafblindness

What will your role be?

You will be responsible for raising funds for the organisation programmes.

What training should you have?

University degree or final year student in marketing, communication, public relations or another relevant field.

What else is important?

  • 1 year of relevant experience in the field, being open to learn new things and to get to know the NGO environment, the legislation in the field of fundraising, fundraising campaigns.
  • Empathy for vulnerable groups and willingness for personal development.
  • Fluency in written and spoken Romanian, as well as an excellent knowledge of written and spoken English, as we are collaborating with other international organisations and external partners.

If you don’t know something yet?

You can learn. The CAN DO attitude is absolutely necessary if you want to join us.

If you find yourself within the description above, please send your CV and a letter of intent describing why you want this job, in English, no later than December 12th, to rantonie@senseint.org.ro, contact person Ramona Antonie.

For further information about the vacancy, please download the Job description.

We thank you for your interest, however please note that only shortlisted  candidates will be contacted. The applications received will be evaluated respecting the principles of confidentiality and equality of chances.

This year, I will NOT turn 40 years old

Sense International Romania will celebrate December 3, the international Day of People with Disabilities, by organising various activities with children and young people with deafblindness and multisensory impairments from our partner schools. We will keep you posted about these, as they develop. Now, we want to tell you about the initiative of our colleague, Etelka Czondi, who decided this year to donate her birthday – December 3 – through Galantom, to children and young people with deafblindness. v

For donations, please access GALATOM.

December 3 is the International Day of People with Disabilities.
December 3 is my birthday.

This year, I will NOT turn 40 years old, this year I will turn 18 + 22 years of experience in working with people with disabilities.

I have spent the past 11 year together with people with deafblindness in Romania, working for Sense International Romania. For those who don’t know, a person with deafblindness has both visual and hearing impairments.

Because it is a special year, I decided to donate my birthday to children and young people with deafblindness in Romania!

Why should you make me such a beautiful present?

Because I wish for early intervention for newborn babies with sensory impairments to be available to all those who need it!

Because I wish for all children with deafblindness to have the chance of high quality education.

Because I wish for young people with deafblindness to be able to find a job, so as to live an independent life.

So please, this year, make a special present for me and contribute to our efforts to create a world where all people with deafblindness can be active and equal members of the society.

The funds raised will be used in our projects for children and young people with deafblindness in Romania.

Thank you!


Ana at Great North Swim – a success story

Ana is an example for us – she makes us believe that it is possible to overcome our limits, especially if we are motivated by a social cause. Ana lives in the UK, she is passionate about tourism and works in the field, but living there made her get involved with social causes. This is how she became an enthusiastic supporter of the Sense International from UK and started to raise funds from her friends and her community for the projects developed in Romania.

At the beginning she was a mountain guide for UK people coming to the Romanian mountains in order to raise money for different projects developed by the foundation and this made her realize that each person could get involved into social causes above its day to day responsibilities.

From this to accept the challenge to swim 5 kilometres into a lake nearby London, within the event Great North Swim, was just a one-step! She was really motivated so what remained was to get trained for the event!

Just 3 weeks before the event, she went to the swimming pool, where her trainer Laura told her that ” you won’t like this, but you’ll have to swim continuously for 1 hour; technique can help you, but you need to raise your endurance.” Ana says that “it was so hard, I wanted to quit on the spot, but I got into the pool and swam. Laura sat on the side and counted my laps, I’ve done 2km. The next week I swam every day at my local pool, I found the time and did it. Every lap I could see Laura on the side of the pool saying ‘keep going, stretch your arms and focus on your breathing”.

There is a huge difference from swimming in a pool than in a lake. Ana remembers that “it was so different! For start, not seeing the bottom was scary. Then there was no end of the pool to turn and take a bigger breath. The distances from one buoy to the next were bigger and there were less people in the water. But lakes are beautiful and by the end of my first lap, 400m, I really enjoyed it”.

The day of the event was full of emotions, Ana felt nervous and excited at the same time. The message she got from a friend helped her to focus on what she has to do:” no matter the result, for the training you put into this, you are amazing to me”.

She managed to finish the race within 2 hours and 20 minutes – she was not the first and not the last.

Her story is an inspiration to us and shows that when you combine one activity to a social good, there is no way you won’t succeed!

We hope that we managed to transmit you this inspiration and if you wish to get involved you can support Ana with a donation, here –https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/amydulac

The funds raised will support young people with deafblindness in Romania on their path towards an independent life.


Beyond senses

27th of June is the worldwide celebration day of Helen Keller when people from all around the world organize different activities with the aim to raise awareness around deafblindness and defend the rights of people with deafblindness.

This year we organized the event ”Beyond senses” together with our friends from AMAis – an event where participants could experiment the sensory tent, the tactile maps and to participate to mobility and orientation walks in the absence of sight and hearing.

Helen Keller is also celebrated within the special schools we are working with through different creative activities dedicated to children with deafblindness. This year 17 special schools from all around the country were involved and more than 700 children with deafblindness/multisensory impairments, together with children from conventional schools took part of creative workshops, interacted between them through games and exercises, participated to trips, practiced climbing and learned about the life story of Helen Keller.

The ones who took part to the event and experimented the sensory tent, tried to understand the space through tactile maps and participated to mobility and orientation walks without seeing or hearing were truly impressed and some of their reactions can be read in the testimonials bellow:

Congratulations on your initiative of bringing “normal” people into another “normal” reality. Thank you for your efforts to open the eyes of people who live in a comfortable unconsciousness. I am really happy I met you and that you are trying to change rigid mentalities.” – Raluca, participant.

To me, this exercise meant leaving my comfort zone. Lacking some senses leads to the inevitable heightening of others. It is hard, it is difficult, it is almost impossible to move on after losing one of your senses, but on the other hand you begin seeing the world with “different eyes”. Congratulations for all your hard work and I wish you the strength to carry on!” – Iulia, swimmer for Sense International Romania at Swimathon.

We thank all those who came to perceive the world beyond senses!

Second Price at Social Civil Gala 2018

Our project Sensabilitate received the second price at the Civil Society Gala, to the category „Defence of individual/collective rights”! We want to thank all our partners, people involved in the project and all participants from the deafblindness awareness events we organized in 2017!

The Civil Society Gala is an event which encourages and honours civil initiatives, NGO projects and projects focused on social responsibility in the community. This year the Gala was at its 16th edition and took place on the 11th of June, at the Romanian Athenaeum.

Each year, before the event, hundreds of projects are being analysed by a jury, in order to select the ones which will be recognised at the open stage. 16 categories reunited hundreds of projects which applied and we registered the project Sensabilitate to the category „Defence of individual/collective rights”, including all activities we organized within the project during 2017.

The project Sensabilitate was organized during June 2016 – October 2017, with the support of Orange Foundation, as part of their funding programme „The world through colour and sound”, the edition of 2016.

The idea of the project was to increase the awareness level of the large public related to deafblindness, by knowing the effects related to this deficiency and offering relevant information about deafblindness to the large public participating to our events. For us, the partners involved and the ones participating, Sensabilitate meant:

  1. Developing the platform www.sensabilitate.ro, the first accessible website for people with multisensory impairments;
  2. Organizing the Caravan in 12 cities, with the aim to increase awareness on deafblindness as a deficiency, through an experiment within the sensory tent – a closed space, where you would enter with your eyes and ears covered;
  3. Promoting the rights of people with deafblindness by signing the ”Charter of rights of people with deafblindness” by the participants to the events; at the end of the project, the charter together with all the signatures raised was submitted to the local authorities. 1247 signatures were raised;
  4. Developing the magazine Sensabilitate, specialized on deafblindess, an online and offline resourse;
  5. Creating the video clip with Călin Goia (Voltaj), promoted on the online platforms, at TV and radio between June and August 2017;
  6. Creating a series of video clips about the methods of communication used by the people with deafblindness.

We are very glad that this initiative was truly appreciated by the jury of this category and we thank everyone who was involved!

The typographer occupation becomes accredited in Arad!

Our partners from Arad, from the Special High School ”Sf. Maria”, organised on 7th of June an event announcing the accreditation of the typography of the high school! We are very glad about the fact that the special high school from Arad will be the third accredited high schools from our network of partners on the occupation of typography, along with the ones from Bucharest and Timișoara, as a part of the Vocational Programme we initiated from 2012 in 8 cities all over the country.

This activity was organized with the support of the County Council of Arad and named ”A chance for them also”, with the purpose to announce the process put in place in order to obtain the accreditation for the occupation of typographer off-set from the authority A.R.A.C.I.P. for the typography created and equipped at our initiative, as a part of the Vocational Programme and with the support of Orange Foundation, within the funding programme ”The world through colour and sound”.

The initiative comes as a following to all efforts made by now, from the launching of the typography workshop, in 2014, where young people with deafblindness and multisensory impairments learn this trade and got the chance to have an independent life in the future.

From the new school year, 2018-2019, a new class of future typographers will start their work in the workshop and this gave us the satisfaction of a successful project, which began from the real needs of these young people and which is now carried on further!