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Society for Empowerment of Deafblind aims to make the community aware of its rights

A rare disability, deafblindness combines degrees of hearing and visual impairments. People with deafblindness face challenges of both communication and mobility and as such experience far greater neglect and discrimination. They are denied access to the most basic rights, something the Society for Empowerment of the Deafblind is trying to highlight.

It was his struggles as a deafblind person that led Zamir Dhale to start a society to address the community's needs and make them aware of their rights. Thanks to his love for knowledge and never say die attitude, Zamir has been able to overcome many of these challenges and shape the course of his life. Now, as founder of the Society for Empowerment of the Deafblind (SEDB), Zamir wants to enable others with this rare disability.

People who are deafblind have hearing, speech and vision disabilities. They have varying level of impairments as well. There are over five lakh people with deafblindness in India. Technology is one of the ways they can communicate apart from the use of tactile signing, sign language, manual alphabets, communication aides, interpreters, etc.

However, not everyone with deafblindness in India gets access to support and opportunities. Lack of awareness about the condition and shortage of resources in education, health care are some of the barriers they face from joining the mainstream.

We need people to see our work and SEDB is the first trust by deafblind people in India. People need to learn about how the deafblind travel and communicate through touch tactile communication. I like the world to understand our work at SEDB and support the cause. We want to be heard and be considered as equals. - Zamir Dhale Founder-Chairman, Society for Empowerment of the Deafblind

The SEDB has its work cut out as this needs the help and support of various stakeholders. In Zamir's case, he was born deaf and lost his vision at the age of nine. With no schools for deafblind children in Pune at the time, he moved to Mumbai with his brother Akhtar, who is deaf with low vision.

Education and knowledge gave him much needed confidence, enabling Zamir to take the steps towards independence. It was his love for computers and accessible technology that finally helped him carve the direction for his life and led to the foundation of SEDB in 2015.

Without proper education, people with disabilities cannot get jobs and be independent financially. SEDB is focused on creating opportunities for deafblind people in the field of education and employment while also demanding their rights.

Puneet Gupta, a filmmaker and advisor for SEDB, says empathy for the disabled community is lacking in India and this affects deafblind people. "People with deafblindness are affected majorly due to the lack of awareness and a shortage of empathy The SEDB is empowering the community with knowledge, information and skills needed for survival in today's world".

SEDB provides assistive devices that help improve communication means for people who are deafblind. It also offers vocational training and access to educational resources to ensure the community gets all the opportunity needed to lead their lives with dignity.

GET IN TOUCH:To know more about SEDB visit the website: http://www.sedbindia.org/

You can also write mail to info@sedbindia.org

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