European regional report
Sanja Tarczay: There has been a dynamic process going on for long now in Europe, it has been more emphasized since the WFDB has been established. It was exacltu then the different organizations started to develop. So the WFDB was the mother organization which got a child in Europe. In 2003 EUDB was established. It was in Denmark. So this EUDB is actually a newborn child. This union was trying to connect all the associations of db people around Eurpoe. I want to give thanks to Jan Jakes from Czech Republic and Ove and all the others who helped me to collect the information for this report. Firstly EU has 20 countries with associations for deafblind. Some country bear one organization, but in some others there are 2-3 organizations. The cultural movement that is going on in Europe. There is a award in arts which is organized by sense in Scotland. DB people cvan apply for this award. There are summer holidays for db, which take place in different coutries and cities every year, this year it is in Varna, Bulgaria. Those wanting more info, please contact Dimitar Parapanov. There are some sport activities, w.g. a chess tournament in Switxcerland, organized by WFD. Announcement of next EUDB GA in Croatia in 2007. Emphasis on the countries to send only one representative per country present in the conference. E.g. in Czech Republic, which has 3 organizations and only has one representative. I think that we all need SISU.
Stig: Next we have report from Asia. Do you want to tell something about Asia and Japan? Satoru xx.
Satoru: I come from Satoru Iori. I work at the office for Japanese DB association. Satoshi Fukushima who represents Asia in WFDB is supposed to be on this place today. However due to an inevitable situation she could not come. I am here today to speak in behalf of him. Las t year there was a tsunami in the Indian ocean. Japan is a country with many earthquakes. We sympathesice with this accident, it could happen for us any time. What kind of support is needed for the db to survive when such a disaster could come? We have learned a lot from the experience of one db person who underwent the disaster. I wish sincerely with you today 10 yrs ago early morning of Jan 17 we had a Hanin-Awashi earthquake which killed over 6400 people. A db person was living on his own in this area. When he first felt this tremendous quake he desperately grapped his bed. Fortunately his house did not fell down, but the inside was a mess wihth broken glass and trees inside. He did not know what happened. He found his way onto the street and decided to go the nearby restaurant which he used to go almost every time. There he found some familiar people who were also using the reastaurant. One man wrote letters in his hand. They were M7,2 so he knew the magnitude of the earthquake. The refugee place was at the elementary school, but he was totally isolated in there, because the environment was changing all the time, so he decided to return home. He needed someone to take care opf the food. He took some people with him, which he knew from the restaurant, who then needed a shelter. He was enabled to get back to the familiar house with people with food and water. However, he still found himself filled with anxiety anf fear. The people in his house did not tell about what was going on in the house or what tey were doing. They did not other times didnt provide information for this db person. Gradually his distrust towards these people grew deeper. He could not sleep ajnd he would other times decline as the last resource, he asked his mother to come from a distant home town. He finally regained information and communication and he regained himself. What does this episode mean? After the disaster there these 2 steps of rescue: the first step is for to survive, and then to be served food and water. The key for this step is to have as many familiar people in the neighborhood as possible. The second step is for life to get going again. To be understood for the db person. And the need for communication and information. The key to this step is to be recognized as a db person with unique needs. Needing support, interpreters, guides for the deafblind. Through this experience he began to think about other db people who might also been undergoung the same suffering. He appeared to welfare centers and deaf organizations to let him know about any db person affected by earthquakes. One after antoher, the distant db persons were erported to him. His activity led to the establish of local db union 2 yrs after the earthquake. He began training programs for interpreter guides and introducing them to dbs and the subsidies from the local government.The local db organization will be the core for supporting dbs in case of a disaster. We now have 36 local db organizations. When earthquakes happen, these local organizations can make cooperations when disaster happens. Japans national organization supports especially networking. It keeps lists of registered db persons and it can be used to quickly report the existence of db people to local officers and to dispatch help needed. This way we are now gradually preparing ourselves for the next time of the catastrophe. I would like to hear from experiences in other countries too. Thank you for your attention.
Regional report from Latin America:
Sonnia Margarita Villacrés: Good day everyone. Excuse me for not being there in the front, I am not able because of the wheelchair. Firstly I would like to thank all Latin american deafblind, who elected me for the president, this has been an honour and a pleasure with this great leader, Stig Ohlson, whom we love greatly, and with the group Executive Council we love him. As Latin Americans we talk too much, buyt Stig told me that I would have only 5 mins. So I’ll try to keep my tongue in a box. For us as the LA DBs since 1995 when the work began the work we had with Iolanda Rodriquez group. This has completely changed our lives. Our Latin American federation, founded in 2003, has 14 member countries. Of those 14 countries 12 have been established as legal associations. 2 are still working as groups due to legal properties of their governments in their countries. 2 of these coutries have obtained the declaration that says that db is a unique disability, and all of the other countries we are working to get that right. Our countries are very poor as you know, but I am proud of the leaders in FLASK, because because of tthis work we are developiong. The countries do not pay our interpreters, but our interpreterguides work as volunteers and they give us their time and effort without financial reward. I can assure you that each of my fellow workers, both men and women are the heroes and heroinnes for the fight for the db cause. Our Swedish friends are working supporting so that our federation will be stronger and greater and each one of the presidents have struggled to have succes in their own federatiopns. Peru, Chile and Colobmua and Brazil have rehabilitation centers for DB adults, even with limited resources. Colombia won a prize from World Bank. Speaking of education, in all of LA countries, there are educational centers working with db children. The Hilton Perkins programs and the CBM and the Cristopher mission and SENSE international are programs that are continually suppoirting our cause. The ECB and DBI have worked with us and the DBI has also worked with us actively. And the professional parents have also united for our cause. Now we are not a forgotten continent, but now with our federationwe are trying to get contact with new countries that they can join us. And even though pockets may be empty, our hearts are full with love for people. And we have great enthusiasm to continue ahead. We could say: WE are rich in this woprld, we are a treasure. And we part of the exsecutive commision of the UN we cope that they weill continue to remember us, even though Stig will not be with us.
Regional report form Africa:
Isaac Draecabo from Uganda has written a paper about the situation of the DB people in Uganda, if you are interested, please contact Lotta (Charlotta Göller)
David Shaba: I try my best to be very brief. At Africa at the moment we have a 10 yrs development plan. For people with a disability in general. It is called the African decade of Disability. It is ending in the year 2009. Continental plan program has been started. The main point of this program is poverty alleviation, insuring the full particiopation for the deafblind. In Africa very few countries have had DIO places, we deafblinds have to get African cojntries starting programs for the development for deafblinds. Many countries have none, so in November last year we had the first conference wher the different organizations for db got together. I am also happy to tell you that the idea has been cast that a committee has been founded for the African Association for Deafblind. With the help of xx we are moving berty fast, 2nd meeting is organized here in Finland. Very soon we have forundeda frederation for DB in Africa. I am sad that i can not speak more. Although i have few presents to Lex Grandia and William Rowland. First, I want to congratulate you, Lex for the application for presidency. I am not giving it to you, Lex, but for your interpreter. There is always a woman behind a man, so this present is for you, Mrs. Grandia. She got an African bag.
Report from situation in North American continent:
Jeffrey Bohrman: I bring warm greetings from the people in North America, Canada and USA. As you may know that XX has been the regional representative for North America, and in the last minutes I’ve been asked to represent NA. One issue is from USA, another in international level. After many years the Am assoc of DB which we refer as AADB has finally hired their first executive director, her name is Jamie MacDamara, Pope now, as she was recently married. The office of AADB has grown tremendously, we now have 3 persons providing more and more services for the db in North America. We have greatly increased our visibility amongst the legislatives in US and have been cooperating with many disability organizations including those of the blind. We interact still with many of legislators and working wiht cooperation with other organization with SSPs, Support Service Providers, persons who provide different supprto, as interpreters and guides, this has been volunteer work but we are now seeking financial support in governmental level. There has been an attempt in Bush’s time, there has been an attempt to cut the refunds from different offices, which are now moving under labour office. What this can mean for db individual, they in the future may not get services. What will happen is that funds from state level will be assigned to different states. Wach state will then decide what it will do with the money. So AADB has been very active on contacting legislators, that we are not in favor with this concept. On international level, one thing that i have to report: last year in March HKNC supported the 40th anniversary assembly of the genitive Rubella-syndrome. At the symposium there were represenatioves Eurpoe, Asia and Latin America, even one from Africa. And USA too. USA has had virtually no new cases of Rubella due to the new vaccines against the syndrome, Latin America is also developing a vaccine against it. Unfortunately there is much work to be done in Africa developing new and better vaccines. And the past 40 yrs we have noticed that people with congenital Rubella have had numerical medical issues, mental, diabetes, heart problems etc. There will be a follow-up symposium. Those wanting to have more information, contact me. I have been enjoying working with you. I can congratulate Lex, André, Sonnia Margarita for the election for their new places.
Isaac Draecabo, Uganda:
Honorary president of WFDB, the representatives, ladies and gentlemen. I bring greetings from the deafblind people from Uganda, who feel priviledged to send their represetative into this General Assembly.
I am Isaac Draecabo, the representative of Uganda. I have learned here a lot of thinds about deafblindness. I would like to thank FDBA to all the support they have given me. By offering my gift. And the sign of my gratitude is this. I have brought a gift to the FDBA. Is there the president of FDBA (Finnish DeafblindASociation) present? I also like to thank for the WFDB. WE deafblind in Uganda would like also to go forward like you. Our official flag – here. And then maybe we can ask here for the representative of the WFDB.And next the Danish association of the DB. Is there anyone present of the Danish association here? I hope we are entitled to – i hope i have not used too ,much time.. wouild like to thank the president about given me the chande to hand the flags away.
If some one is interested, I have prepared a presentation about African siguation, you can ask me or Lotta.