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surdocecitate

I want to be heard and seen!

I too have a voice! I want to be heard and seen!

With this emotional message and the certainty that we are stronger together, we concluded the fourth workshop organized within the project "The Voice of People with Deafblindness in Romania," which took place in Bușteni from January 11th to 14th.

23 people with deafblindness, along with 11 family members (mothers, a father, and a life partner), discussed the need to establish an association for people with deafblindness in Romania, reviewing the main strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of the deafblind community as identified in the previous workshop.

They discussed what this association could do to improve the lives of people with deafblindness and expressed their support and desire to get involved.

Through Sense International Romania, participants received detailed information about the steps necessary to establish an association, from drafting a statute document to choosing the organization's leadership and setting priorities.

Deafblindness on the stage

After the plenary discussions, participants worked in small teams and came up with proposals for the name and logo of the future association: Association of People with Deafblindness in Romania, Deafblindness Romania, and I Want to Be Heard and Seen were just a few of their creative ideas.

Subsequently, participants with varying degrees of deafblindness became directors, scriptwriters, and actors in emotional short plays with the following themes: Accessibility, Specialized Interpreters in the Language of Deafblind People, Awareness Activities for Deafblindness, and Independent Living.

Through realistic scenes, we witnessed some of the situations that a person with deafblindness may face in everyday life, the support she/he needs at work, in a store, or on the street, as well as possible solutions to enjoy an independent life.

Throughout the entire workshop, communication was facilitated by two Romanian Sign Language interpreters, Monica Cătuțoiu and Elena Demeter, who graduated of the introductory course in deafblindness for interpreters organized by Sense International Romania in the fall of 2023.

Orientation and Mobility in Bușteni

The agenda also included moments of orientation and mobility. Participants enjoyed walks in the snowy outdoors and a guided tour of Cantacuzino Castle, a first-time experience for many of them.

The workshop concluded with a sculpting session. Each person molded a clay piece of art, which they then offered to a fellow participant along with a hug, a grateful thought, or a promise of reunion in the spring.

The final conference, in March

The group of people with deafblindness will gather in Bucharest from March 14-17, accompanied by family members, Romanian Sign Language interpreters, and interpreters trained in the specific language of deafblind individuals. They will also be joined by guests representing national authorities at the conference that will mark the conclusion of the project "The Voice of People with Deafblindness in Romania."

The connections made and plans set for a future association of people with deafblindness will, however, continue to develop even after the conclusion of this project.

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.

Working together for a green, competitive and inclusive Europe

 

The first initiation course in the field of deafblindness for sign language interpreters

People with deafblindness in Romania represent a vulnerable, marginalized, isolated group, affected by inequalities and social exclusion. The combination of the two disabilities, sight and hearing, raises serious barriers to accessing services, given the major difficulties in communication, orientation and mobility, in accessing information, to which is added the lack of trained interpreters in the field.

In this context, Sense International Romania  organized, between September 4 and October 16, 2023, the first Deafblindness Initiation Course for Romanian Sign Language Interpreters, attended by 17 experienced interpreters from Bucharest, Cluj-Napoca, Timișoara, Craiova, Slatina, Bârlad and Brașov.

The course totaled 44 hours of theoretical and practical training and had both an online component, on the organization's e-learning platform, www.cursuri.surdocecitate.ro, and a face-to-face component.

Thus, during four online sessions, the participants learned about the specifics of deafblindness, which are the main types and causes, basic notions regarding the anatomy and physiology of the senses, as well as legislative elements regarding deafblindness. A special moment in the course was the presence of Viorel Micu, interpreter of Professor Vasile Adamescu, and the guests from Sense International India and Sense UK, who shared their experience regarding the interpreter for people with deafblindness.

Only together can we bring "light" into the lives of people with deafblindness

In the face-to-face workshop, organized in Predeal between September 14-17, the participants practiced the communication methods and adaptations necessary for people with deafblindness, as well as aspects of orientation and mobility, using the red-white cane, symbol of deafblindness worldwide. Through role-playing and creative exercises, they experienced some of the challenges faced in everyday life by visually and hearing-impaired people, guided by the course trainer, university assistant dr. Ioana Tufar.

"Emotion was the word that ran through this formation like a red thread. The position of interpreter for people with deafblindness is extremely demanding for an interpreter in Romanian sign language. So little is known about deafblindness, only together we can change mentalities, we can bring "light" into the lives of people with deafblindness!" - Angela Mate, special education teacher and Romanian sign language interpreter

 

This was the first edition of the initiation course in deafblindness for Romanian sign language interpreters, but Sense International Romania intends to organize other editions.

"We created this first course dedicated to interpreters in Romanian sign language to respond to a real need for training and information regarding the specifics of deafblindness as a distinct and very complex disability. We are glad that the participants received the course with so much enthusiasm and we want to organize new editions to have as many interpreters specialized in the field of deafblindness as possible. There is still a lot to do, we will also continue the efforts to harmonize the legislation on deafblindness, but now we have dedicated interpreters with us, friends of deafblind people in Romania" - Etelka Czondi, director of Sense International Romania.

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.

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.