International Deafblind Awareness Week
By Patrick Alia.
NADBU in conjunction with Sense International held a one day event on Deafblind awareness aimed at raising awareness on deafblindness and the situation of persons with Deafblindness in Uganda.
In Uganda, Deafblindness is a disability still unknown to most people including the professionals in the Education, Health and social development sectors. The last week of June was gazzeted an International Deafblind Awareness week by the World Federation of the Deafblind and is also known as Hellen Keller’s Day.
The event was held at Eureka Hotel Ntinda in Kampala and the event lasted a week that is from the 25th of June to the 1st of July 2023.
This was the first International Deafblind Awareness event to be held by NADBU and in attendance were various delegates, partners and media including; Sense International Uganda, Abilis Foundation, ADD, Sight Savers, NUDIPU, Show Abilities Uganda, Spina Bifida, DRF, Board of Directors of NADBU, Signs TV and Bukedde.
The theme of this year is “Older People With Deafblindness”. This was decided upon through an exchange with The World Federation of Deafblind (WFDB) who decided that this theme would be able to bring about inclusion that is removing barriers from living full lives, meaningful participation and recognizing Deafblindness as a distinct disability.
“We support persons with disabilities, we have been working closely with UNAD, UNAB but we had never really established a close relationship with NADBU and we pledge to work with them and provide any necessary support said Pretty Nalubega, the Program Coordinator ADD. She urged NADBU to work hand in hand with main stream organizations to realize its vision and mission.
The activity contributed to the Promotion of public awareness of the Deafblindness week and the situation of persons with deafblindness in Uganda and it strengthened the institutional capacity to meet the aspirations of NADBU membership with other organizations.
While speaking at the event, the Chairperson of the Deafblind in Eastern Region Jafer Okoel hinted that “training on tactile sign language is key in breaking the communication barriers between the Deafblind persons their families and the community as well.” He further added that supportive devices for the Deafblind individuals is necessary in exploring their environment.
Sight savers Uganda vowed to continue creating more awareness and support NADBU in the gaps of communication barrier and also acknowledged to be the ambassador for the Deafblind persons because it is one of the categories of disability being left out.
Speaking at the same event, Jackson Atria a representative of DRF lamented about raising the profile of the Deafblind as marginalized disability which is a key driver to NADBU as an organization. He further stretched that Deafblindness is not mentioned as an independent disability among the various disability categories.
“He added that the vision of the organization outlined the issues of the marginalized communities to be supported.”