Before the inception of Sense International India, deafblindness was an unknown term. We have been lobbying with the Government, towards the recognition of deafblindness. In the past seventeen years, we have worked closely with the ministries of Social Justice and Empowerment, Education and Health, and with other relevant government bodies, to ensure that deafblindness is recognised as a distinct disability in policy-making.
This has made a significant difference in the provision of support and schemes available to deafblind people and their families for education, social welfare, health and employment support. Sense India, represented by Director Akhil Paul, was also a member of the drafting committee of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill 2011.
- The National Policy on Disability has incorporated deafblindness as a sub-group under multiple disabilities.
- The State Government of Chhattisgarh has recognised deafblindness in its Disability Policy.
- The National Trust for the Welfare of Persons with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Mental Retardation and Multiple Disabilities, an autonomous body set up by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, has included deafblindness as one of the categories of multiple disabilities.
- Rubella vaccination has been included in the national immunisation programme.
Parent, Teacher and Adult deafblind Networks
We have created a 1615 member strong national network of deafblind adults, parents of deafblind children and teachers of deafblind, to meet, share and take up local issues that affect them. These networks have become very important local bodies that advocate for inclusion and against discrimination in various districts across India. Today, the National network of families of deafblind people called 'Prayaas', has more than 920 families; 'Udaan', the national network of deafblind adults, has 130 members; and 'Abhi Prerna', the national network of teachers, has 565 members.