In India it is estimated that there are 27.3 million people with mild deafblindness/multi-sensory impairment (MSI), and over 2 million people living with severe forms of deafblindness/MSI. Less than 16 per cent of these people receive some form of specialist support. Sense International (India) started working in 1997 and remains the sole organisation working with deafblind/MSI people and their families at a national level.
Education and rehabilitation
We offer children with deafblindness/MSI children the chance to be educated by using specific methods and techniques that we have taught to teachers over many years. We have:
- Established four regional learning centres across India. These not only run high-quality programmes for people with deafblindness/MSI but also support other, less experienced local partner organisations to set up services.
- Trained more than 3,800 teachers in 21 states on deafblindness.
- Developed a hugely successful partnership with the Government of India’s ‘Education for All’ programme, which has helped us to reach more than 63,500 deafblind/MSI children and adults.
Persuaded the Ministry of Education in India to include deafblind/MSI children in primary schools at state and district levels.
- Supported the initiation of the first teacher training course on deafblindness in India and the development of five training centres to deliver this course.
- We deliver rehabilitation and education services in rural locations, through field workers and volunteers trained by us.
We offer training programmes which draw upon local skills and resources to help young adults with deafblindness/MSI to learn specific trades and skills and become part of the economy.
Advocacy & campaigning
- We offer people with deafblindness/MSI, their families and those who work with them the opportunity to meet, share information and to lobby for more services.
- We have established three national networks with almost 1,852 members across India; a network for adults with deafblindness, for family members and for teachers.
- As a result of our strong advocacy initiatives, Sense International (India) was invited by the Government to be a member of the drafting committee for the preparation of a new Disability Bill in 2011. And after 20 years of advocacy, deafblindness was recognised and included in the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 by the Government of India; and Sense International (India) now has consultative status with the United Nations.
We offer short term, individualised care which gives families the chance to have a break from caring for children with deafblindness/MSI.
Work in progress
Although a low incidence disability, there is a large population of people with deafblindness/MSI who face many challenges and barriers. Our goal is to help these people flourish by:
- Expanding our pilot project on the early screening of newborns for vision and hearing difficulties in 15 hospitals across India.
- Setting up another regional learning centre in North East India.
- Supporting young adults with deafblindness to set-up income generation activities and become independent and contributing members of the society.
Jesse, a teacher from our partner NGO, Kottayam Social Service Society (KSSS) with Sneha, a child with deafblindness. Jesse visits Sneha at her orphanage, Providence Home, twice a week for home based care. Jesse is helping Sneha identify the smell and touch of a flower.
Discover how our work has helped some deafblind children and adults around the world lead better and fuller lives.
Twenty-year-old Babloo Ram lives with his parents and two brothers in Babhanbey, a small village in Hazaribagh district, Jharkhand.
He works full-time with his family running a Chinese fast food stall at a local market – earning money to both support himself and help his family.
Roshan was a small baby with lots of health problems. He didn't respond in the same way that his brother and sister had as newborn babies and his parents became concerned. During her pregnancy, Manisha had contracted Malaria. When Roshan was six months old, doctors identified him as deafblind.
First published: Thursday 27 June 2013
Last updated: Friday 1 November 2019