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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Courses – We held training courses for more than 200 teachers and specialists, some of them also benefiting from training abroad.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!