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Sense International looks back at the highlights of 2019

20 December 2019

It has been another busy year for Sense International. As 2019 draws to a close, we look back at highlights from the past twelve months.


Following the ‘My Turn to Learn’ appeal, SI continues to work with partners in Bangladesh to improve educational opportunities for children and young people. In August, we launched a video to highlight our progress and to tell the story of Morium, a girl with deafblindness who has been supported to make the most of her time at school. View the video.


After sustained awareness-raising with local election officials, young adults with deafblindness were supported to vote in elections for the first time. This led to the Election Commission of India trialling model polling stations with the aim that future elections become accessible to all. 


2019 saw the launch of a new three-year project that will enable children with complex disabilities in six areas of the country to be included in mainstream education. Learning Support Assistants will provide one-to-one classroom support for learners and the project will demonstrate to the government how the national education system could be more inclusive.


Working with local partners we scaled-up support for people with deafblindness in four areas of the country. The day care centre in Kathmandu currently benefits 7 children with deafblindness, and the resource centre in Morang provides services to 5 children. Additionally, 19 children and adults with deafblindness and their family members have benefitted from home-based support.


49 young people with deafblindness and multiple disabilities have received training in bakery and pastry making skills as part of vocational workshops in Lima, Arequipa and Girl wearing a chef's hat and apron smiling into the camera with her thumb up. She's standing next to her smiling mother.Cusco. Project participants learned techniques for bread and commercial dessert preparation, as well as cake and biscuit making. The workshops helped them to develop autonomy and social skills, whilst learning a trade to build economic independence.

Ruth, a participant, told us: ‘Being part of Sense International has brought joy and happiness to my life. I feel that I am a productive person. I want to thank Sense International for your help that is changing my life.’


SI Romania has been supporting young people with deafblindness to complete vocational training courses in typography, which involves the printing of leaflets, books, flyers and calendars. In July, the first cohort of 17 students graduated from the course, with seven already guaranteed employment.


Group of people at launch with their arms in the air, smiling and celebrating

We launched the country’s first-ever screening and early intervention programme for children with deafblindness and multi-sensory impairments. The pilot programme will run for three years and aims to screen over 72,000 children for vision and hearing impairments, providing physiotherapy and sensory stimulation for children identified as requiring further support. Felix Lyaniva, Temeke District Commissioner, said: “Early interventions will help children to get the required treatment and grow healthily.”


After more than 10 years of advocacy for rubella vaccinations, a key preventative mechanism to tackle Congenital Rubella Syndrome which causes deafblindness, the Government of Uganda embarked on a mass rubella vaccination programme in October. Our Early Intervention programmes were instrumental in providing the data which convinced the government of the need to start a national vaccination programme.

Looking ahead to 2020… Give children with deafblindness a Chance to Shine!

Sense International will launch its ‘Chance to Shine’ appeal at the start of 2020. With your help, we will establish sight and hearing tests for children in rural Kenya, and ensure children with deafblindness receive the support they need in their crucial early years of development.

UK Aid Match logo with mother smiling at her childEvery donation made between 1 January and 31 March 2020 will be matched pound for pound by the UK government, doubling the impact of your support for some of the world’s most disadvantaged children.

There are lots of ways for you to get involved so watch out for more information in the New Year.

Thanks to your support, Sense International can provide opportunities for persons with deafblindness to live, learn and thrive in 8 countries worldwide. We are extremely grateful – thank you.

We wish you a wonderful holiday and a very Happy New Year!

First published: Tuesday 18 June 2013
Last updated: Friday 6 December 2019