The right to a language underpins everything

Mamma med sin dotter i knät.

Deafblind persons in Rwanda live an extremely vulnerable life. They have no organisation to fight for their rights and many are hidden away in their homes. In order to raise the profile of deafblind persons in Rwanda, FSDB – the Swedish Deafblind Association is running a project in partnership with two organisations for deaf persons and one organisation for persons with visual impairment.

Before working to promote the rights of deafblind persons, it was important to first have a definition of deafblindness. Through FSDB’s project, the three organisations have agreed on a definition, which is now set to be approved by the government. Through outreach activities, they have also come into contact with 80 deafblind persons.

Learning to communicate with your children and meeting others in the same situation means a lot

FSDB’s mission is to support inclusion and the right of people to plead their own case. Creating the conditions for deafblind persons to communicate with those around them is one of the key issues for the project.

Workshops enable family members, carers and the deafblind persons themselves to learn different ways of communicating. The courses are much appreciated, as one mother who has attended several workshops makes clear:

– This is the first time I’ve come across anyone who is interested in supporting deafblind persons. I didn’t even know there were more children like mine. I’ve learned so much that will help me look after my daughter, and this will hopefully improve her situation in the future.

Lina Jakobsson