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A new organisation is being born…

Bogdan, Cătălin, Crina, Delia, Emina, Iohana, Ionel, Iulian, Mădălina, Mario and Oana, the 11 participants in the workshop I too have a voice!, the third workshop organised within the project "The voice of people with deafblindness in Romania", took the decision to found an association of people with deafblindness in Romania.

During the workshop that took place in Predeal, between December 14-17, 2023, the 11 participants, together with 3 family members and the rest of the Sense International Romania team, discussed and debated the challenges faced by people with deafblindness in Romania. Thus, the main strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of the deafblind community were identified and some priorities for the future were outlined.

The discussions were facilitated by a Romanian sign language interpreter, Monica Cătuțoiu, a graduate of our initiation course in deafblindness for interpreters in RSL, organised in the fall of this year.

Strengths and opportunities

The fact that a working team has already been created, a diverse group of people with deafblindness with different life experiences, with self-confidence and desire for change, a group that is starting to know their rights and demand their respect: here are some from the strengths identified by the participants.

Collaboration with other associations of people with deafblindness in the world, but also with Sense International Romania, with authorities and educational institutions, identifying and attracting new members to the group, the diversity of communication methods and the emergence of new technologies that support communication, all these are just some of the opportunities discussed.

Weaknesses and threats

Isolation, limited access to information and insufficient support resources, low visibility, poor knowledge and understanding of deafblindness are some of the weaknesses identified, alongside perhaps the most important weakness: the lack of a representative association for people with deafblindness.

Added to these are external threats related to the small number of identified deafblind people, the fact that although deafblindness is recognized by Romanian legislation as a distinct disability, the criteria for classifying it as a specific disability are missing. The lack of deafblind adapted sign language interpreters or a communication guide was another difficulty identified by participants.

I was very happy to be able to take part in this activity. It was a very beautiful and valuable experience from many points of view. Thus, it was an opportunity to broaden my horizon of knowledge regarding the specific characteristics of deafblindness and to reflect, together with my fellow participants, on the main challenges it entails, as well as on potential solutions. I also had the joy of seeing old friends again and making new friendships.

Throughout the three days spent at Predeal, the atmosphere was warm, the work sessions being seasoned with group walks, with special culinary experiences and finished with a surprise moment prepared by the Sense International Romania team, in the form of a campfire and gifts given on the occasion of the approaching Christmas.B

Bogdan S.


Starting from those identified above, the participants present established together a series of priorities for the future: first of all, the establishment of an association of people with deafblindness in Romania.

Then, this newly established association will be able to actively campaign for the improvement of the legislation, mainly regarding the creation of criteria for inclusion in the type of disability "deafblindness" and the resolution of issues related to the adapted sign language interpreter/communication guide. It can increase the level of awareness and sensitization of the general public and the authorities regarding the specifics of deafblindness and actively engage in programs to develop personal autonomy.

Next steps

In January, we will continue the process with the fourth and final workshop, where a larger number of deafblind participants will continue the discussions and, if they wish, will join the process of establishing the association.

In March 2024, we will organize the closing conference of the project in Bucharest, on which occasion all those involved, people with deafblindness, family members, Romanian sign language interpreters, together with guests from the national authorities, will share the results obtained in the two years of implementation and will together draw up the strategy for the near future.


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

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