FROM HELEN KELLER THROUGH NOW. International Day of deafblindness.

FROM HELEN KELLER THROUGH NOW. International Day of deafblindness.

On the week June 27 DBI celebrated International Day of Deafblindness and it encouraged to increase the public awareness for people with deafblindness in our communities.

From Helen Keller through now the networks helps to know about deafblindness at the worldwide level. Here some actions developed in the world and shared with DBI. Thank you so much for sharing so impresive activities!!

Report by Carmen Guerrero, Guatemala

Graciela Ferioli, Argentina



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                                                                                                       by Sampada Shevde, Director. Perkins India

Imagine being in a world where you can neither see or hear – how would you communicate with family and friends, how would you make friends, how would you go to a restaurant, how would you go shopping?

The last week of June is Deafblind International Awareness week. The week from June 20-27 is devoted to the life of individuals who are deafblind and celebrate the birthday of a well-known lady with deafblindness named Helen Keller who was born on the 27th of June.

It is the time when deafblind people, their families and supporters organize celebrations, hold events and raise community awareness on the challenges of being deafblind.

Anne Sullivan, the teacher who enabled Helen Keller to communicate, motivated her students with this principle, “Keep on beginning and failing. Each time you fail, start all over again, and you will grow stronger until you have accomplished a purpose.” As Anne Sullivan put this principle into practice, she changed perceptions of, and expectations for, the deafblind, opening opportunities and doors which had previously been closed to them.

These students certainly have added challenges. But as Anne and Helen proved, they are nothing that can’t be compensated for and overcome. Teachers of the deafblind need to see the challenges ahead, and then help their students overcome them.

During Deafblind Awareness Week we encourage you to think about friends and relatives who might be affected by sight and hearing loss and talk to them about it; try to understand what they are going through and learn what you can do to help.


CHETANA TRUST , Namita Jacob, Director

For the last week, children at Alphabet School in Chennai have been learning about deafblindness. They began by watching… can you guess? Of course! The Miracle Worker. Intrigued, they badgered their teachers to tell them more. Wasn’t it lucky that their art teacher is also our artist in residence at Chetana Trust, devoting this year to creating adapted books for children with print disabilities?

Being deafblind awareness month, Chetana Trust began by teaching its library volunteers braille. Learning about Louis Braille and the logical braille code was fun and some learnt so fast that they could already braille their first book for the library! Kudos! Here you see Teresa and Yohann each with their creations – Teresa created Minu and her hair, an adapted version of a much loved Tulika book – she could really identify many letters and enjoy the tactile illustrations. Yohann holds his first book entirely brailled by him.

Meanwhile, at Alphabet, children are engaged in different activities every day to help them appreciate what it is to be deafblind. They play different games to notice how they use their hearing, vision, proprioception, touch and smell in different ways. They played touch and smell Bingo and guided each other blindfolded through an obstacle course using only touch. They borrowed books from Chetana to learn braille and to try to figure out how they can understand something they have never seen, just by using their hands. The older children also played a game to help them reflect on inclusion and empathy. They were paired up and one child was blindfolded. The pairs were challenged to find golden cards hidden around the rooms. They were told to work together as a team and use each other’s strengths. Some children forgot their blindfolded partner in their excitement and in their reflections, soon learned the meaning of inclusion and empathy!

Finally, the day they were all waiting for. Chetana Trust Mr Pradip Sinha to join them in visiting and playing with the kids of Alphabet School. Children and teachers had spent the last two days discussing what they may want to ask him. They were thrilled to meet him and asked him many many questions – what games did he like? How could he shave?? Who was his best friend? How did he learn sign when he was also blind? Pradip’s good nature and playfulness with the children made it very easy for them to interact and soon they were all learning sign from him and signing with him, giving the interpreter very little work to do!

Pradip discussed his life and attitudes, showed the children how he could access his phone and computer and taught the children how to sign and finger spell Soon they were crowding around him, including his in the games their teachers had set up for the morning. He chatted with all the children, laughing easily with them and thrilling them with his choices of name signs. At the end of the visit, the children made him a wonderful, creative, tactile and braille thank you card.

Pradip’s visit is not the end – a class at Alphabet will celebrate deafblind awareness as a month, with all their lessons and activities entwined to help them understand and celebrate this unique group of individuals.

The ice breaks… they start to chat

Braille his first book!!                                                                                                                                          


I can read braille                                                                                           Everyone signs friend


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PERKINS INTERNATIONAL FROM INDONESIA, Weni Weningsih, Educational Specialist

“Every kid, including deafblind children deserve and have right to be loved, to be raised in a great family, to have access in education and have great teacher. It is our responsibility to give them opportunities to build their future and character”.


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ESCUELA DON LUIS BRAILLE DE ASUNCION, PARAGUAY shared with Deafblind International one of the activity they develop during the International week on Deafblindness. They made public awareness about the population and in particular on mobility and communication. The activity was also joint by the families.

Here some pictures of this special moment.


Mobility at the community                             Using the stop sign                                                Members of school community



Helen Keller Logo

As Paraguayans we have two traditional celebration to conmemorate Helen Keller’s birthday:

For the birthday of Helen Keller, we present the space “SABIAS QUE” (You know what), which presents SERAFINA, a unique, fun Giraffe that goes to the school program !! with presentations that tells the biography of Helen Keller

The other celebration is celebrating our paraguayanism with the traditional festival of SAN JUAN, where the children, teachers, volunteers and families worked to organize a SAN JUAN with SENSES, as well as having fun, eating delicious meals and participating in the games, the attendees could go through the experience of cooking the MBEJU with goggles, activating other senses and creating empathy.

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Logo Socieven


SOCIEVEN SORDOCIEGOS DE VENEZUELA continues its program for the International Awareness on Deafblindness. In this opportunity they are sharing the great time they had playing golf! If you would like to have additional information please contact Maria Luz Neri de Troconis, General Director SOCIEVEN. +57 312 5469332



Socieven Sordociegos de Venezuela shares with Deafblind International its program for the International Awareness on Deafblindness. Their program starts now until the end of July. They have very excited activities included training,interviews at social media, public awarness on accesibility and much more…

SOCIEVEN, Sordociegos de Venezuela shared with Deafblind International on the International Deafblind Week an interview from a journalist to Mr Nico de Jesus Terán Méndez.

“I managed to develop skills to be independent.”

Nico de Jesús Terán Méndez is a 21-year-old boy with partial congenital deafblindness due to Rubenstein syndrome; nevertheless, he has some vision and communicates through sign language. Despite the difficulties, he has come forward with the support of his mother, Nancy Méndez, who is a breast cancer survivor.

Since 2004 he has been attending the headquarters of the Society of Deaf People of Venezuela (Socieven) where he receives training to be more independent. Six months ago he began his classes in Orientation and Mobility and in Braille as part of the Accessibility Project for a Pilot Group of People with Deafblindness.

“This opportunity has allowed me to develop skills for independence and communication with other people,” he states through his sign language.

According to his mother, Nico draws and makes decorative bags for the company Sidetur, through Fundacodise, which is a training center for the life and work of young people and adults with intellectual disabilities.

“I enjoy participating in the activities five senses in action and in the meetings where I share with my friends,” he says.

Nico attended sixth grade and now participates in all the training workshops organized by Socieven, where his mother also receives training on how to cope and support her son. According to her mother, “We both attend the workshops because it is a way to support the development of my son.” Nico and his mother live on the main street of the Maca neighborhood in Petare. “He has finished with all the stages of The rehabilitation, “says his mother, also emphasizes that to improve and protect his vision, he received the donation of polarized lenses with filters that have helped him.

Nico de Jesus Terán Méndez’s publication at the newspaper.


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FUNDACIÓN MULTI, UN MUNDO DE OPORTUNIDADES FROM MEDELLIN, COLOMBIA starts to celebrate with DbI  the International Week on Deafblindness working together students, families and professionals!!


Jasmine,  5 years  interacts and communicates with her mother through her hands.

Sensitization with adults visiting, in front deafblindness


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Valeria Analuisa studies psychology at the “Universidad Politécnica Salesiana” . She is a `person who has deafblindness, (total blindness and moderate bilateral hearing loss wearing hearing aids) and she communicates orally.  These conditions have not limited her personal or academic life. Currently Valeria is studying the fourth level in psychology. Valeria can travel autonomously through the university, but frequently  she  finds friends who are willing to give her a hand so that she can reach her destination more quickly, Valeria is a girl like all , she likes to share with her boyfriend, go out with friends, attend classes in a timely manner, performs her tasks sometimes with difficulty but Valeria finds ways and means to solve these difficulties to avoid problems with teachers, in areas such as   tests or  exams which the teachers take orally, this means that they take notes of their answers to write them down and in this way evaluate her. Valeria is an independent girl, she arrives at the university without major difficulty, she moves within the facilities, departments, dependencies, classrooms in a precise way, in the same way Valeria at the end of her academic day, returns to her house taking the same route and transport, which leaves her in the place where she lives and without any problem she arrives at her home. Description made by his tutor (Marco Celorio)

Valeria developing a presentation                                                                                           Valeria with her companions



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FUNDACIÓN SALVADOREÑA PARA LA SORDOCEGUERA Y DISCAPACIDAD MÚLTIPLE FROM EL SALVADOR – FUSSDIM, made public awareness on the International Deafblind week through the activities their students does at their organization. Students, families and professionals working together.



They also  made public awareness on the International Deafblind week through interviews at the social media. The journalists assumed the rol to be a person with Deafblindness.

 Journalist assuming the role                                           Interview at television


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ASOCIACIÓN PARA PERSONAS CON MULTIDISCAPACIDAD -APEMU-, BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA developed the course “Multiple Dissability and Deafblindness. Right to a quality life” at the International Deafblind Week.

The main themes were Adolescence and Sexuality, Inclusive Education, Supportive Work and Independent Housing.

  Conference Banner               Participants at the event

 Participants at the event            



In the Deafblind Week and Awareness, the students of the course on Deafblindness and Multi Disability presents the final works of the Assistive Device Workshop. In December they will be the first graduates of this specialty in Buenos Aires, Argentina

Students with their Assitive Device works


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We can all learn from the life experience of people with deafblindness and build relationships based on presence and physical contact. In this digital age, let’s not forget that the best connection will always be the human one.

FUNDAL is a private, no lucrative organization, focused on human rights, working since 1998, offering free educational services specially designed to develop communication in deafblind babies, children and teenagers.

Our commitment is to ensure that every child with deafblindness or multiple disabilities can exercise their right to a quality education.

FUNDAL joins the commemoration of the International Day of People with Deafblindness by carrying out special activities in its educational programs that include parades, recreational and cultural activities. The campaign *#ElPoderDeUnaCaricia*  is also launched to recognize the importance of touch to create bond in all human beings and vital for the communication of deafblind people.

Helen de Bonilla General Director of FUNDAL

Helen de Bonilla, General Director of FUNDAL was named as the “Tenderness Ambassador” from Guatemala.  A trace of nature is an action of social mobilization of an ecumenical nature, framed in the campaign “We need a world: zero violence, 100% tenderness” that drives the social organizations of the Centrality of Children Program.


“On this most special day “Helen Keller birthday” and Deafblind International week and Awarness, DbI youth network is inspired by Helen Keller with her approach to participate in new challenges and experiences. This was certainly reflected during the recent youth network event in Zurich” said Simon Allison- Youth Network Coordinator

The DbI Youth Network (DbIYN) held an event in Zurich, Switzer land during early June 2018. A series of activities were kindly funded through Tanne, the Swiss centre of competence for the Deafblind. Each day provided many opportunities for the young people to experience Swiss culture with their network friends.


Group photo during old city tour                                 Tesfaldet, Thomas, Jenny and Santeri with the Lindt Chocolatier



Enjoying fondue on the mountain                                                          Group photo on the mountain


Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much. Helen Keller

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