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Celebrating Helen Keller Day around the world

27 July 2018

On 27th June, Sense International teams participated in a range of events to celebrate Helen Keller – an extraordinary woman with deafblindness whose activism and achievements continue to inspire persons with deafblindness around the world today.

Helen Keller day provides an excellent opportunity to raise awareness about deafblindness and demonstrate our work to a wide range of audiences. Below we bring you a round-up of highlights.

Parents and organisations celebrate in Uganda

A group of people holding a sign that says 'International Deafblindness Awareness Day'

Photo: People walk in Uganda to raise awareness of deafblindness in their community

In the first ever celebratory event of its kind, Sense International staff in Uganda joined with the Uganda Parents with Deafblind Children Association (UPDBCA) and National Association of the Deafblind in Uganda (NADBU) to promote the right of persons with deafblindness to work.

Joined by the Honourable Safia Nalule Juuko, a national representative of persons with disabilities in the Ugandan Parliament, young people with deafblindness and members of Disabled People’s Organisations (DPOs) walked through the suburbs of Kampala to reach a special event held at the Uganda Society for the Deaf Vocational Training Institute.

Participants used the opportunity to urge the government and private sector to provide inclusive training and employment opportunities to persons with deafblindness, and to challenge stigma and discrimination

Journalists and editors in Tanzania join Sense International at special event

In Tanzania, editors and journalists from national media outlets joined Sense International staff at a special event to learn more about deafblindness.

In discussing the work underway to improve early intervention services, provide inclusive education and training opportunities for children and young people with deafblindness, the team were able to secure opportunities to spread the word further through radio and television interviews, as well as newspaper articles. 

Peru celebrates with new sensory room

Two smiling men and a smiling woman in a radio studio

Photo: Director of Sense International, Ricardo Zevallos, in the radio studio to talk about Helen Keller Day 

In Peru, Helen Keller Day was marked with the inauguration of a new sensory stimulation room for students at a special education centre ‘CEBE Mariana Carrigan’, in Lima.

This classroom, with special lighting and equipment, was created with funds from the Government of Australia’s Direct Aid Programme, and will enable children with deafblindness and multiple disabilities to develop their residual senses and improve learning outcomes with support from their teachers.

Romania partnered with schools

Sense International Romania worked with 17 partner schools on a variety of fun activities for students with deafblindness and their peers. 754 children took part in theatre workshops, arts and crafts sessions, sports activities and excursions.

India to include people with deafblindness in electoral process and annual bike ride to celebrate Helen Keller Day

After years of advocacy on the rights of persons with deafblindness, this Helen Keller Day, Sense International India received news from the Election Commission of India that people with deafblindness will be included within the electoral process for the first time. Accessibility will be improved so that adults with deafblindness can participate in forthcoming general elections. This marks a major step forward for persons with deafblindness throughout the country.

The fourth annual Helen Keller day bike ride – ‘Messengers on Cycles’ – also took place in Ahmedabad, India. With the support of 250 cyclists, including people with disabilities using tricycles and hand cycles, the 4km cycle ride raised awareness of the inclusion of persons with deafblindness in society. You can watch highlights from the event in the embedded video below or view the video on YouTube.

Queen of Spain makes special address

A smiling woman holding hands with a man

Photo: The Queen of Spain with Sense International India's Advocacy Officer, Zamir Dhale

The Director of Sense International, Alison Marshall participated in the World Federation of the Deafblind’s 11th Helen Keller World Conference in Spain, networking with representatives from National Associations of people with deafblindness, including partners from Nepal and Uganda.

On Helen Keller day, the Queen of Spain made a special address to the conference generating a lot of media coverage. Sense International India’s Advocacy Officer, Zamir Dhale, met with her.

First published: Tuesday 18 June 2013
Last updated: Friday 6 December 2019