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New beginnings...

5 April 2017

a profile of Alison Marshall smiling for the camera

Alison Marshall joins the team as Director of Sense International. She brings a wealth of experience from roles at organisations including the Planned Parenthood Federation, UNICEF UK and CAFOD.

Alison says:

‘It’s a privilege to join a charity that makes such a positive difference to the lives of so many. I look forward to working with the fantastic team to deliver on our ambition to reach and improve the lives of a greater number of people.’

a side profile of Etelka smiling

Etelka Czondi steps into the role of Country Director for Sense International Romania, taking over from Cristiana Salomie following her retirement after nearly 20 years of service. Previously the Programme and Communications Coordinator, Etelka has first-hand experience, as well as a huge amount of passion and enthusiasm, to bring to the role. Below Etelka shares a recent new initiative undertaken in Romania.

New experiences…

Three towns – Craiova, Timisoara and Arad – visited, 1.300 kilometres travelled, hundreds of children, teachers, parents and local people involved, and lots of emotions and joy shared – this is how we could summarise the experience of the first Sensabilitate Caravan which took place from March 28-30, 2017.

Together with Vasile Adamescu, an artist who is deafblind, Sense International Romania travelled to different towns promoting the rights of people with deafblindness, drawing particular attention to the impact of multisensory impairment. The team used ear defenders and blindfolds to recreate the experience of sensory deprivation for visitors. Inside a sensory tent, participants had the chance to engage with sensory equipment, as well as different textures, flavours and tastes, so as to feel and understand what it means to live with deafblindness.

a woman is guiding a man who is wearing ear defenders and blindfolds to recreate the experience of sensory deprivation

Ramona, a teacher in Craiova, described the experience in the tent:

"The space itself seems a lot bigger than it really is. It is full of all sorts of materials that need to be explored; you can make your own representation of what you think it is, but in the end you realise you cannot make an accurate image of what is in the tent. You move step by step, because you don’t know if there is any danger, any obstacle, so everything happens slower. It was a unique experience."

Following their experience, 282 participants signed a petition to ensure that the government doesn’t just recognise deafblindness as a distinct disability, but actively seeks to facilitate children with multi-sensory impairments and their parents to access support and realise their fundamental rights.

The Sensabilitate Caravan is associated with the online platform sensabilitate.ro funded by the Orange Foundation.

Etelka tells us:

"We are back from this first road trip full of hope and happy with the people who showed their support for our initiative."

First published: Tuesday 18 June 2013
Last updated: Wednesday 11 October 2017