1. India Deaf Expo, Chennai, January 2023
India Deaf Expo was conducted in Chennai from the 27th to the 29th of January 2023. It was conducted by Deaf Leaders Foundation (DLF). 3 deaf-blind members along with 3 deaf members attended the event from SEDB. During the conference, the deaf team supported the deaf-blind team with interpretation, guidance and other support services. At the SEDB stall, SEDB displayed the products made by deafblind adults – beautiful candles knitted woollen bags, key chains, crocheted baby clothes and other tiles. Sunil Abbas, General Secretary of SEDB worked hard to organize our participation including registration, hotel and stall arrangements. He took support from Chetana Trust to help create the presentation, design the banner and organize transport for the participants. The Deaf Expo was a wonderful experience and a great opportunity to spread awareness among the deaf community. Many deaf people came from all over India and other countries. They were very impressed and amazed at the products and SEDB was able to make good sales.
Zamir Dhale was invited to make a presentation about SEDB and the situation of deafblind people in India. Sunil Abbas presented along with him, while Renuka and Namita Jacob supported the presentation as interpreters. Zamir Dhale was felicitated at the Deaf Expo and given an Achievement award for his contribution to o deafblind community in India, by founding SEDB. SEDB is grateful to DLF for inviting deaf-blind participants to attend the India Deaf Expo, in Chennai.
2. 2nd NCDB, Bangalore, February 2023
SEDB organised a 3-day conference – the 2nd National Conference of the Deaf-Blind(NCDB) 2023 in collaboration with Enable India and Chetana Trust between 2nd to the 4th February 2023 . The conference was funded by Allegis. The chief guest was Lion Dr. A. K. Abbas and his wife, Ayesha, the parents of Sunil and Reena who are deafblind. Zamir Dhale, the founder of SEDB presented Mrs. Beroz Vacha Memorial Award to Lion Dr. Abbas for his belief in the capacity of the deaf-blind to work toward the empowerment of deafblind people in India. His contribution and support enabled Zamir Dhale and Sunil Abbas to join Pradip Sinha in participating in the General Assembly and conference conducted by the World Federation of The Deafblind (WFDB).
The first two mornings of the conference were filled with presentations and discussions led by the deafblind leaders of SEDB. The first session on Livelihood was lead by Zamir Dhale. The second session was on becoming deaf-blind as an adult and was led by Sunil Abbas. The third session on training & technology was led by Pradip Sinha. Each of them invited several SEDB members to present their experience and learning. There was one zoom session and Ms. Shruti Lata from Sense International India spoke on RPWD, while Ms. Akiko Fukuda from Japan spoke of the situation in Asia. On the first day, a survey of deafblind participants was conducted, to capture the level of well-being experienced in their lives. This survey, together with the more in-depth support survey was led by Chetana Trust and will be analysed along with deafblind leaders from SEDB. The results will be used to drive SEDB actions and advocacy.
Each afternoon of the first two days had games and activities, followed by stalls. Enable India conducted several interviews to create self advocacy tools for each participant. They will compile and share this information with SEDB. Participant concerns and complaints were also recorded to share with the government. TorchIt had a stall and gave hands-on experience to the participants of their technology. The games and activities were exciting and fun. A spontaneous Fashion Show was organized by participants. Mr.Raman from Bangalore acted as a lady very well. Ms. Reshma who is deaf and Mr. Naveen, who is deaf-blind danced beautifully. Nilesh and Neeta were crowned the winners and all winners received beautiful crowns, sashes and bags of perfumed potpourri.
On the third day, some participants were invited to visit a factory that made pencils while others were taken to an exhibition of wares from different states. At the conclusion of the conference, Mr. Dipesh, the Chairman of Enable India, Lion Dr. Abbas and Dr. Namita Jacob, the Founder Director of Chetana Trust, Chennai were invited to give participation certificates to all including SEDB members who accompanied the deafblind participants and supported them through the conference. All participants received little knitted squares filled with potpourri as a gift from Chetana Trust marking the end of a two year collaborative project of those who supported the deafblind community through the pandemic. The little perfumed pouches were also presented to the hearing and the deaf interpreters who were present through the NCDB conference. Zamir Dhale thanked all for the support towards deafblind conference and making it a success.
Report submitted by SEDB, India