Dbi review issue Number 45 • January – June 2010



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Conference

The 13th European Deafblind Week

European Rehabilitation and Cultural Week of the Deafblind 2001

in Tuusula, Finland

Monday 1st to Sunday 7th August, 2011

Hosted by the Finnish Deafblind Association


Dear Friends

The Finnish Deafblind Association confirms that the European Rehabilitation and Cultural Week of the Deafblind in 2011 will be held in Tuusula, Finland. The venue takes place in Onnela Inn and nearby Gustavelund Hotel and Conference Centre.


Tuusula is a small town with a rich cultural heritage. Both Onnela Inn and Gustavelund are situated next to beautiful Tuusula Lake, only half an hour from Helsinki and just 15 minutes from the airport.
The participation fee is 450 euros per person, including accommodation, full board and activities.
Further information about the programme for this week, registration and transport will be given in September 2010 the latest. Please, follow the Internet pages of the Finnish Deafblind Association at www.kuurosokeat.fi/en.
Finnish Deafblind Association was founded in 1971. Year 2011 will be our 40th anniversary. We are proud to welcome you to the European Rehabilitation and Cultural Week of the Deafblind 2011 as part of our 40th anniversary celebration.
For more information, please contact
Mr Heikki Majava

Head of Organizational Affairs

The Finnish Deafblind Association

P.O.Box 40, Fi-00030 IIRIS

Street address: Marjaniementie 74, Itäkeskus, Helsinki

tel. +358 40 529 3439

email: ercw2011@kuurosokeat.fi

www.kuurosokeat.fi




Between Silence, Shadows and Fragrances

Creating new possibilities to improve the quality of life for people with deafblindness in the Dominican Republic

Mr. Edgar Reyes, President of Asociación Dominicana de Sordociegos (ADSOC), shares an example of a way that deafblind adults can change their life when they can do something that they like while contributing to their families and community. In this article he introduces a new initiative that ADSOC is promoting along with the reaction and feelings from a deafblind participant. Reyes invites us to read about this challenging and very exciting project.



Participating in the Market Place


A micro-business managed by deafblind people in the Dominican Republic improves the awareness of deafblindness through marketing aroma products that they make and sell. María M. and Maurely E. are responsible for making and packaging these wonderful products.

Guided only by her hands, Maurely E. makes her way through boxes and containers that emit pleasant aromas. Accustomed to silence and shadows, this 19 year old young lady who is deafblind, was able to find what few people, like her, can. She found a way to participate in the market place!

Beside her, María M. from the Dominican Association for the Dead Blind (ADSOC), explains about her work as a workshop coordinator. Another ongoing responsibility of Maria’s is her fight against the social and economic limitations that are imposed upon her as mother of a child who is deafblind.

In the Dominican Republic, as many as 3000 people are believed to be deafblind, according to Mr. Edgar Reyes, President for the ADSOC. The association works to identify people with this disability throughout the country in order to offer them support. Eight-eight adults who are deafblind form part of, and are supported by, this association.

Before the success of the micro-business project, the organization offered beauty and cleaning workshops to build an incentive for individuals to start their own personal business. In addition, it helped them with financial management, since this is a group that has great economic need.

Building success and self esteem


María M. was a beneficiary of these classes. Today she divides her time between holding workshops for ADSOC and making personal products to sell in her neighborhood. She acknowledged that obtaining a job is not only difficult for the person with a disability but also for their family members. In her case, in addition to personal health issues, she is a mother of a boy who is deafblind. Consequently, opportunities for her finding a job were difficult.

Evelyn R. is one the 10 vendors who are deafblind who forms part of the group of distributors of the cleaning products. She testifies of the problems with mobility that she encounters due to her disability.

Before deciding to enroll in the school at 19 years of age, her social circle was limited to her parents and her house. Now that she is 35 she tries to work towards selling products to make a living. She has to do this by phone because she doesn’t have a helper in order to sell door to door. Despite this, she has been successful in the four months that the project has been operating. “Besides being busy doing something, it is better to work to earn something rather than people giving you things. I feel more satisfied earning 10 pesos then receiving 200”, she says.

Reyes notes that this change in attitude has to do with a change of focus in the traditional way of assisting the disabled. Having persons who are deafblind going out on the streets to sell their products not only allows them to develop socially through integrating in the community, but also changes their role in their family from being passive to being active. In other words, they are no longer an economic burden for their families, which furthermore improves their level of self esteem.



Limitations and Dreams


While the project’s purpose is to increase the capacity to mobilize its members as workers in the work force, their success has being limited. To help boost their success, the organization offers classes in motivation and marketing; demonstrating how to establish commercial contacts with private and public businesses to sell their products. This all helps to accomplish self-sustainability, using the example of the micro-business, to generate more work opportunities for people with deafblindness in the Dominican Republic.

A factor further limiting the capacity of those with deafblindness in the Dominion Republic is the minimal availability of services for this population. There is a program for some children and young adults who attend Centro de Recursos para Discapacitados Visuales “Olga Estrella” where they can learn academic concepts, Orientation and & Mobility and other skills to improve their readiness for some kind of work. However there are many people with deafblindness throughout the country who are not able to receive these services, remaining invisible and confined to limited spaces in their home.

Using the initiative of the micro business, ADSOC is looking towards a bigger dream: To create a Center for Deafblind People to assist those adults who never received any kind of services and have a lot of difficulties to live a normal life.
“This is what we are aiming for, however, this is something into the future”, says Edgar Reyes.
Abridged from an article in Clave: Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, September 17, 2009

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