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Visual Hearing Impairment Membership Association Malawi visits Sense International in London

30 July 2018

Two men and four smiling women

Photo: Sense International Director, Alison Marshall with members of the Visual Hearing Impairment Membership Association Malawi

Following this week’s Global Disability Summit, five members of the Visual Hearing Impairment Membership Association Malawi (VIHEMA) , visited Sense International in London.

VIHEMA’s mission is ‘to improve the welfare of persons with Deafblindness and promote their social, economic and political interest’.

VIHEMA visited Sense International’s office to reflect on their time in London and President of VIHEMA, Ezekiel Kumwenda, met with Sense International’s Director Alison Marshall, to discuss what they had gained from their attendance at the summit.

The group also visited TouchBase South East, one of Sense UK’s day services, to find out more about the facilities and support available to people with complex disabilities.

VIHEMA delegate Catherine, who was left almost completely blind with partial hearing loss after she contracted meningitis in 2001, found the summit overwhelmingly positive.

Speaking of her experience meeting people with deafblindness in the UK, she said:

“the most interesting thing we learnt was that most of our friends in the UK are independent, they live happy lives, and can do things on their own”.

This shows the contrast to the experience that a lot of people with deafblindness face in Malawi, where “deafblind people are not considered by the government, to have the rights to participate in decision making”

President Ezekiel echoed this, commenting on the commitments that different governments and NGOs made at the Summit to promote the rights of people with disabilities.

They also discussed with Sense International what international NGOs can do following the Summit to “open windows and promote the rights and needs of deafblind people in Malawi and Africa.”

First published: Tuesday 18 June 2013
Last updated: Wednesday 4 April 2018