Just like the theme of the WFD World Congress (‘Strengthening Human Diversity’) in Istanbul, our CBM participants’ meeting involved diversity of cultures, backgrounds and roles. What unites us all was the passion we feel for improving the quality of lives for persons who are deaf, hard of hearing or deafblind in low-middle-income countries.
Following a brief introduction of their involvement with CBM, each participant gave a brief presentation about the situation of deaf people in their country, the status of ratification of the CRPD; the challenges they face and opportunities as they see them. One of the greatest challenges was related to access to communication, particularly related to sign language interpretation be that in education, health or justice systems.
As we came to the reflections of the afternoon’s proceedings, I felt that whilst there are undeniable challenges in truly giving deaf people their rights, particularly in Low and Middle Income Countries, there is also great hope. With advocates such as those present there is a passion, a will and a vision to make the needed changes. I feel proud that CBM is involved in supporting these initiatives. It also struck me how important it is for our Deaf leaders to have the opportunity to share ideas, concerns and solutions in a forum such as this. These opportunities are few and far between, but everyone is making the most of the chance to be together.
Everyone left tonight feeling enthused about setting up the CBM Booth tomorrow the Congress programme itself, meeting old friends and learning new things. Let’s not forget the Side Event supported by WFD, CBM, Kentalis International and Abilis on Wednesday (Theme – The current realities of deaf learners in lower income countries).
Stay tuned to hear more tomorrow!