When Sense International started work in Romania in 2001, there was no word for deafblindness in Romanian language. Since this time, we have ensured that deafblindness is understood, and that young people with deafblindness can live full, independent lives.
In Romania, an estimated 387,000 people live with a mild form of deafblindness and over 38,000 people live with a severe form of deafblindness.*
People with deafblindness in Romania experience marginalisation and isolation due to a lack of knowledge about this unique dual-sensory disability. Without trained interpreters and suitable support available, many people with deafblindness are unable to access information and services, leading to further social exclusion.
Our work in Romania initially focused on identifying infants with deafblindness through screening for sight and hearing impairments. We ensured that children with sensory impairments were not only able to access vital therapies, but that their parents and care-givers were also supported with counselling. As these children have grown up, we have adapted our work.
Currently, we ensure that teachers are trained in deafblindness and have the skills and resources to provide a quality education. We are transforming opportunities for students with deafblindness and their teachers across the country through technical innovation. Working with Code4Romania, we are developing an educational software which complements the curriculum and provides an accessible teaching resource for learners with multi-sensory impairment.
We are responding to the changing needs of young people with deafblindness as they approach adulthood. This includes supporting them to become more independent and to advocate for their rights. In recent years, we have also worked with schools and vocational training centres to ensure that young people with deafblindness are able to learn a trade and prepare for future employment.
with deafblindness are currently receiving an education from teachers who have been trained by Sense International Romania.
243 young people
with deafblindness and multi-sensory impairments have learned a marketable trade through our work with 8 vocational centres and 2 partner schools.
* Figures based on prevalence estimates produced as part of research by the World Federation of the Deafblind (WFDB). This data may differ from official government statistics.
World Federation of the Deafblind (WFDB), 2018 At risk of exclusion from CRPD and SDGs implementation: Inequality and persons with deafblindness.