CBM had a strong presence at the WFD World Congress in Istanbul this year and was represented by CBM staff from around the world.
The 17th World Federation of the Deaf (WFD) World Congress 2015 took place in Istanbul, Turkey from 28 July – 1 August, 2015. “Strengthening Human Diversity” was the theme of the congress; intended to expose cultural differences and highlight the importance of cultural exchange to raise awareness, network and share challenges then solutions. The WFD World Congress was open to all those who wanted to become educated about the successes and challenges of the international deaf and hard of hearing community in relations to additional disabilities, religion, socioeconomic issues, gender, sexual orientation and accessibility.
The congress also encouraged the participants to take an active role in improving the status of deaf and hard of hearing individuals all over the world while being inspired by the fact that they do not face the challenges nor do they must innovate solutions alone. In addition, the city of Istanbul was exposed to the presence of deaf and hard of hearing individuals to raise awareness and encourage adaptability.
CBM with its partners (WFD, Kentalis International and Abilis) had a strong presence at the conference with our booth which was loaded with information. Additionally we hosted a side event titled - current realities of deaf learners in low and middle income countries, which was a huge success, recording an attendance of about 250 people. Each organisation that hosted this side event explained their work with the deaf and hard of hearing community. This was well-received by the participants that attended the side event as many were not aware that there were organisations working in low, middle income countries on deaf-related issues.
At the booth hosted by CBM and Kentalis International, we were given the opportunity to share the organisations values while receiving questions, concerns and feedback on our programs implementation. The Congress was a unique environment where the distance between stakeholders were nonexistent, allowing such constructive conversations to take place. We have come a long way but lots remains to be done. CBM will continue being a part of strengthening human diversity for years to follow especially with the post 2015 agenda.