Improving the lives of over 8,000 people with deafblindness in Peru is a big task.
Disabilities are often seen as a curse by society, and there is little support from the government. Many families with a child with deafblindness live very difficult lives.
Sense International has been present in Latin America since 1995. In 2003, it supported the opening of the Helen Keller Day Centre for people with deafblindness and in 2004, Sense International (Peru) was established in 2009 to support the development of an infrastructure of services for people with deafblindness and to advocate for people with deafblindnesss. Its mission is to help children and adults with deafblindness to live, learn and thrive.
We have promoted the development of much-needed services for people with deafblindness - in education, rehabilitation and training for work. We also work closely with the government and social institutions to change the lives of people with deafblindness and their families for the better.
Sense International (Peru) works, closely, with a network of Civil Society Organisations and government agencies to raise awareness of the situation of people with deafblindness and to promote their progress and development.
“Seven-year-old José, who is deafblind and has cerebral palsy, was abandoned by his mother when he was a baby. With the patient support of his teacher Paola, he now plays with other children and uses simple signs to communicate.”
Watch our subtitled video that outlines the work we do in Peru. You can also watch the video on YouTube.
We provide quality education services to students with deafblindness through the training of teachers of special education, the implementation of a functional curriculum and establishing spaces for sensory integration:
- We support people with deafblindness and their families in Lima, Arequipa and Cuzco, helping children to learn how to communicate and carry out daily living tasks and develop training activities for professionals
- In Lima we have opened four sensory stimulation rooms, and distributed thirty sensory stimulation packs and are opening another twelve sensory stimulation rooms in the rest of the country. In addition three rooms in Lima have been established where deafblind people can make use of adaptive technology.
- A teacher training programme has been implemented with support of the Ministry of Education, which provides face-to-face and virtual training. We have promoted the creation of the first Diploma on Deafblindness and Multi-handicap with the support of UNIFE (a private university in Lima).
We have designed a tailored programme to improve education services for students with deafblindness and multiple disabilities. The programme consists of:
- Preparation of specialised materials: handbooks on educational care for students with deafblindness and another on multisensory stimulation for students with deafblindness and multiple disability.
- Guidance on the implementation of sensory stimulation rooms and provision of sensory stimulation packs which aim to improve special education schools and early intervention centres, respectively.
- Regular face-to-face and online teacher training courses.
- Inclusion of the needs of the people with deafblindness in the policy, plans and programmes of the Ministry of Education.
Rehabilitation in the community
Faced with the failure of other rehabilitation services to focus on the needs of deafblind people with multiple disabilities, we have established a community-based rehabilitation programme.
We provide home-based rehabilitation programmes in the marginal and surrounding areas of the cities of Huaraz (Ancash), Arequipa, Cusco and Lima.
The programme consists of:
- Toolboxes on the Community Based Rehabilitation programme and Institutional Rehabilitation programme.
- Networking with regional and local government groups for the support and care of individuals receiving Community Based Rehabilitation.
- More than 100 children have been supported with individual development plans.
We conduct awareness activities in the community and advocacy actions with local authorities in Arequipa and Cusco.
We run life and work skill workshops with activities that are tailored to people with deafblindness' needs – and have trained 55 deafblind young people and adults from Lima and Arequipa in job-related activities such as confectionery-making and massage. In Arequipa a musical group was formed composed of people who are blind and deafblind.
We have supported the creation of networks - like the Deafblind and Multi-Sensory Impairment Network – which brings people with deafblindness, families and professionals together for mutual support and information.
We provide a vocational training programme in the cities of Arequipa, La Libertad (Trujillo) and Lima to support the development of people with deafblindness and their families. The programme has the following stages:
- Detection and identification of people who might benefit from the scheme with the support of local partner organisations.
- Design and implementation of occupational workshops according to the profile/expectations of the individuals (e.g. what skills they want to learn) as well as opportunities in the market.
- Training, support and implementation of the business plans of the people with deafblindness.
- Delivery of seed funds for the business plans and support and accompaniment through the process of setting up their micro-enterprise.
Campaigning and advocacy
Advocacy actions are fundamental to expected changes in the legislative, political and social fields. In Peru advocacy strategies are developed to influence the various sectors of government to incorporate deafblindness in their plans, programmes and projects.
- As a result of our lobbying of the Peruvian government, deafblindness is now legally recognised and a guide interpreter service exists to support deafblind people. Deafblindness has been included in the national plans on human rights and vulnerable groups. Various government sectors are assuming responsibilities regarding deafblind people needs such as the inclusion of sensory disability on their ID card.
- The education system is now evolving to meet the needs of students with deafblindness.
- Deafblindness has been included in the education part of the Equal Opportunities Plan for Disabled People of Peru 2009-2018; and we have created a Handbook of Educational Attention to Students wih Deafblindness, with the support of the Ministry of Education.
- We have been working with the Ministry of Labour to create specialised work placements for people with disabilities. This important work is illustrated by the first appointment of a person with deafblindness by a public institution. In 2012, Magally Minaya Rodriguez began work as Deafblind Specialist at the National Council of Persons with Disabilities (CONADIS).
- We will also strive to improve opportunities for people with deafblindness and their families not only in Peru, but in the neighbouring countries of Bolivia, Ecuador and Venezuela, by supporting lobbying of governments and engaging in advocacy work.
We are working to promote the rights of people with deafblindness by ensuring that:
- The Peruvian education system includes deafblindness in its process/ procedures.
- The Peruvian health system creates protocols for the care of people with disabilities including deafblindness.
- Peruvian training and employment programmes include people with deafblindness as direct beneficiaries.
- We support and share good practices with other countries in Latin America.
Contact Sense International (Peru)
Sense International (Peru)
Calle Chardin No. 132
Oficina 201, San Borja
First published: Thursday 27 June 2013
Last updated: Monday 15 January 2018