Taking a Stand

Isolated and quarantined: For many of us this is the new reality of COVID-19. In deafblindness, however, touch is central to contact and interaction.

So we meet – we meet and touch each other as needed with all possible hygienic protective measures. We exchange mails and we use all other technical possibilities to maintain contact and communication at a distance.

And we take a stand: Because it is crucial that public health information and communication about COVID-19 is fully accessible to everyone. And because we must ensure that those left most behind and exposed to enormous isolation in any crisis, people with deafblindness, are equally protected. Protected according to Article 11 of the UN Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).

Therefore, DbI publishes this fundamental paper on accessibility and inclusive policies during COVID-19.

In best implementation of our mission DbI also connects with this paper. It is based on the recommendations of the European Deafblind Union (EDbU), the African Federation of the Deafblind (AFDB), the Latin American Federation of the Deafblind (FLASC) and the World Federation of the Deafblind (WFDB) on one hand. And on the other hand on a publication of the International Disability and Development Consortium (IDDC) and the International Disability Alliance (IDA).

It needs us, needs us together.

Just like we are and co-create Deafblind International together. Together we are THE point of connection in deafblindness worldwide.

Thanks for being a part of DbI! And if you are not yet: Join us!

Connecting: Meet ComCom

DbI is all about connecting in deafblindness worldwide. Connecting of course means communicating. So no wonder is connecting through proactive internal and external communication one of our top strategic priorities.

In the current management year proactive communication has inspired two major achievements so far: The reorganisation of our communication and the relaunch of a new and digital DbI Review.

Part of the reorganisation is the newly created Communication Committee ComCom. ComCom is responsible for all outreaching communication of DbI. Meanwhile, the secretariat concentrates on all internal communication and is the first contact for all external inquiries.

ComCom includes with Dmitry Polikanov the Information (Facilitation) Officer. Together with his team in Russia he takes care of the English and Russian version of the DbI Review and provides technical support in all communicative matters. At the moment the team is very busy programming the new website of DbI. With Eugenio Romero Rey, the editor of the Spanish DbI Review is also a member of ComCom and active on all communicative channels of DbI  – as all other committee members. Graciela Ferioli of course is our social media pioneer and star. Roxanna Spruyt-Rocks is also coordinating the activities of the newly created group of DbI Communication Ambassadors all over the world. Trees van Nunen-Schrauwen is in her role as Network Coordinator ComCom’s direct link to all DbI Networks. And Mirko Baúr as ComCom’s current Chair guarantees as Vice President of DbI a strategic orientation and a direct connection to all African projects.

Meet ComCom in its new short-film and notice: YOU, too, are part of this reorganisation. It’s YOUR proactive communication with ComCom that helps us spread all the relevant news and information. That is how DbI becomes what we all want: THE point of connection in deafblindness worldwide. So get in touch!

Your ComCom

We will and we do meet

Isolated and quarantined: For many of us this is the new reality of COVID-19. In deafblindness, however, touch is central to contact and interaction.

So we meet – we meet and touch each other as needed with all possible hygienic protective measures. We exchange mails and take a stand with the recommendations of the World Federation of the Deafblind WFDB for inclusive policies regarding COVID-19. And we use all technical possibilities to maintain contact and communication at a distance. And once again we realize that despite all the great progress that has been made, there is still a lot to be done in this respect, for example with regard to making these means of accessibility accessible worldwide.

A very important step in this direction is the international recognition of deafblindness as a unique and distinct disability. This is one reason why it needs us, needs us together. Together we are and co-create Deafblind International, together we are THE point of connection in deafblindness worldwide.

Even now: We’re planning a webinar around the theme Living with Deafblindness in a New Reality. It will be available during the Deafblind Awareness Week from 22-26 June, 2020.

We also continue the planning for the next international conference: The 1st African Conference of DbI, in Nairobi, Kenya, October 6-8 2021. The conference is also a celebration of our community, when touch will once again be safer. The flyer invites: Save the date right now!

And finally, perhaps the time now is a good reason to join our community. Become a member and help us to make a difference for persons with deafblindness worldwide. In good times and in bad.

Thank you so much. And: Meet you again!

 

Washing hands video instructions from World Health Organization

 

Key messages and actions for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) prevention and control in schools

Guidance from UNICEF, the World Health Organization and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies

As of March 2020, the outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has been declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern, and the virus has spread to many countries and territories. While COVID-19 continues to spread, it is important that communities take action to prevent further transmission, reduce the impacts of the outbreak and support control measures.

The protection of children and educational facilities is particularly important. Precautions are necessary to prevent the potential spread of COVID-19 in school settings. However, care must also be taken to avoid stigmatizing students and staff who may have been exposed to the virus. COVID-19 does not differentiate among borders, ethnicities, disability status, age or gender. Education settings should continue to be welcoming, respectful, inclusive and supportive environments to all. Measures taken by schools can prevent the entry and spread of COVID-19 by students and staff who may have been exposed to the virus, while minimizing disruption and protecting students and staff from discrimination.

The purpose of this document is to provide clear and actionable guidance for safe operations through the prevention, early detection and control of COVID-19 in schools and other educational facilities. The guidance, while specific to countries that have already confirmed the transmission of COVID-19, is relevant in all other contexts. Education can encourage students to become advocates for disease prevention and control at home, in school and in their community by talking to others about how to prevent the spread of viruses. Maintaining safe school operations or reopening schools after a closure requires many considerations but, if done well, can promote public health.

For more on UNICEF’s response to COVID-19, visit: https://www.unicef.org/coronavirus

Author

UNICEF, WHO and IFRC
In French
In Spanish
In Arabic