Croatian Association of Deafblind Persons Dodir
Deafblind people may not be able to hear you, may not be able to see you, but this doesn’t mean that they could not express themselves creatively and communicate with you through sign language and touch. Therefore, our goal is to create an opportunity for them to get in touch with the society at large and express themselves through art and acting.
Osijek-Baranja county, Karlovac county, Sisak-Moslavina county, Croatia.
Deafblind persons are often isolated from the rest of society due to their unique disability of dual sensory impairment. If they do not have a family that supports them, these people are often confined to loneliness, and given that there is only one association of deafblind people in Osijek-Baranja county (UGsO Osijek) and none in Karlovac and Sisak-Moslavina, it is difficult to cover the entire area and enable them to fully participate in the society and express themselves artistically.
What we consider important is to enable these people to participate in the community and to create an inclusive society in these counties.
This idea would encourage citizens to actively act in the form of helping and supporting deafblind people. Through volunteering, they would gain new experiences, knowledge and friendships, and enable the deafblind to actively participate in everyday life and society.
The deafblind will not only be able to stay in touch with others, but they will also be able to practice, create and participate in acting and fine arts. For this project, it is aimed that, in order to emphasise, enlighten and educate the general public on different aspects of the double isolation that deafblind people face daily in real life through arts and performances, especially in recent events such as the CoVid-19 crisis. Some, if not all aspects are best shown in either art exhibitions or in outdoor performances.
The target group of this idea are deafblind persons residing in Osijek-Baranja, Karlovac and Sisak-Moslavina counties. Their unique double sensory disability makes it difficult for them to properly access information, actively participate in society at large, and to communicate with other people if they do not have a family member to help them do so and/or via a deafblind interpreter. As this is a small but very vulnerable group who needs as full support as possible, it is essential that we do our best so that they too can actively participate in the society. As Richard Howitt, former member of the European Parliament, said, deafblind people are even excluded from the excluded.
Our idea would not only help the deafblind, but also the entire community.
In order to implement our idea, we will take the following steps:
- make concrete plans with local associations UGsO Osijek and Zagreb
- contact local associations of the blind, deaf and hard of hearing in order to gain insight into the number of users with dual sensory impairment
- communicate with deafblind people with the aim of insight into their needs - questionnaires and interviews
- contact, educate and involve volunteers
- employees of local associations of the blind, deaf and hard of hearing on aspects of access and communication with deafblind people so that they can also actively help deafblind people
- provide the deafblind with the opportunity to express themselves creatively
- produce and print brochures and leaflets on access and communication with deafblind
By carrying out all the above activities and goals, we believe that our idea will achieve the following:
- determine the number of deafblind persons in the area of Osijek-Baranja, Karlovac and Sisak-Moslavina counties
- identify and fully understand the needs of this specific group in these counties
- create an inclusive community for deafblind people
- make the general public more aware of the needs of people with dual sensory disability
- hold an art exhibition and/or performance of deafblind people to the general public
- establish a local association in Karlovac and/or Sisak in order to successfully continue to provide direct support to deafblind people
This project idea will help deafblind people in deprived counties to take the first step towards becoming part of an active community, and by the very fact that they become active citizens of Croatia, they also become active Europeans. Through the project, deafblind people will give their contribution in an artistic context, and they will have an opportunity to reach other European countries through acting, sharing their story and strengthening their self-confidence and raising awareness of the general European public.
Recently, through the CoVid-19 crisis, the Deafblind community faced severe restrictions and huge difficulties on accessing services from Dodir. So, it was vital that double isolation is avoided during this time and ensure continuation of services as much as possible despite the lockdown. Moreover, this also showed that the society at large has, to a certain extent, experienced isolation too. We believe that this is the right moment to raise awareness of deafblindness and its cultural identity to ensure their full social inclusion due to the fact that most of the population had also suffered isolation. At this moment in time, we, the deafblind, would be able to attract their attention and educate them about our unique and vulnerable position.
Funding requested from Civic Europe
- Personnel cost 19.500,00 EUR
- Educational outpost (production of materials, workshops, honoraria for the instructors)
- Equipment 2.000,00 EUR
- Travel and accommodation costs (for volunteers and the project team) 4.000,00 EUR
- Other expenses/indirect expenses: 2.000,00 EUR
- Promotion (design, publication, brochures…) 4.000,00 EUR