Guwahati: A regional network meeting organized by Deafblind Regional Centre (DbRC) Shishu Sarothi with support from Sense International India was held here from September 27-29.

Attended by persons with deafblindness, parents, and special educators from the states of Assam, Meghalaya, Sikkim, and Tripura, the three-day meet had discussions related to the empowerment of persons with deafblindness.

Around 50 participant members attended the regional meet comprising members from Udaan Network of Adults with Deafblindness, members of Prayaas Network of Parents, AbhiPrerna Network of Special Educators, and family members of children with deafblindness.

Adults with deafblindness discussed the challenges they faced due to the Covid-19 pandemic ranging from issues related to healthcare, difficulties in communication, lack of accessible information about Coronavirus, financial constraints, barriers in accessing online education, among others.

Ketaki Bardalai, executive director of Shishu Sarothi, said, “Shishu Sarothi has been working extensively in awareness-raising, legal counseling and litigation services, and we need to raise our voice at different levels and look for opportunities to strengthen the network of young adults with deafblindness, parents network, and Abhiprerna the Network of Professionals and educators.’’

“We are building the capacity of the region and increasing our reach through the training conducted by Sparsh Program of Deafblind Resource Centre which started in 2015,” Bardalai said.

Akhil Paul, founder and director of Sense International India, extended his wishes to everyone and said, “We need to work towards building a future for children with deafblindness and have to be aware of all the policies and strategies for supporting them.”

In the North East regional network meeting-cum-training for adults with deafblindness, government officials from various departments including Debeshwar Borah, State Commissioner for the Persons with Disabilities, Ram Kishore Sharma, Assistant Director, Employment of the National Career Service Centre for Differently-Abled, were present.

Borah said, “All challenges faced by persons with disabilities need to be viewed and through establishing a joint venture by the institution with other organizations the capacity of all the members can be enhanced.”

Stressing on the need for a strong network for persons with deafblindness, Sharma said, “Our team at the National Career Service Centre for Differently Abled, Guwahati, provides support through scholarships and certificates and develop their expertise and train them in specific areas based on their skill sets.”

The 3-day training involved discussions on issues related to understanding the rights of persons with deafblindness, roles and responsibilities of regional local networks, and ways to strengthen the network.

Adults with deafblindness also gained hands-on experience through their exposure visit to Vocational Rehabilitation Centre, Guwahati.

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