Challenges of the deaf-blind: experience, objectives, perspectives”, the International Conference held a meeting of the most, distinctive, important representatives of the deafblind.

The aim of the conference was to bring together the best practices of work with the deafblind, to identify the ways for future studies and develop specific policy recommendations.

April 17, 2015

The most recent international event concerning the deafblindness situation occurred on the 15th and 16th of April in Moscow. The international conference «Challenges of the deaf-blind: experience, objectives, perspectives”, was organized by the Deaf-blind Support Found. There were representatives of the most relevant entities of deafblindness. Ricard López, president of EDbN participated as an invited speaker.

The inaugural session was undertaken by Dimitry Polikanov, President,  Deaf-blind Support Found. Also present were Mikhail Terentyev (Russia), Vice-chairman, the State Duma for labour, social policy and veteran affairs (Russia), Frank Kat, Director, The Royal Dutch Kentalis, (Netherlands), James Thornberry, Director, Sense International (Great Britain) and Andrey Nikitin, General Director, Agency of Strategic initiatives (Russia).

A number of round tables were established. The round table «Adaptive Physical Education (APE)» was dedicated to show assistive practices that distinct Russian organizations regarding disability practice carry out

The round table «Definition the Deaf-blindness Criteria: The Deaf-blind Census» involved international speakers. Of special interest was the speech made by Elena Geleskul conducting «Russia-wide deaf-blind census by Deaf-blind Support Fund». Ricard López conducted the conference, «Census of the Deafblind: EU and EEUU status» where the results of the recent project, «European Deafblind Indicators» were presented, as well as the differences with the EEUU census methodologies. The European census found an estimated 3 million deafblind people in Europe.

The program also included the round tables: «Rehabilitation through the Arts», «Training specialists for working with the deaf-blind» and «The medicine of the future», among others. All the interventions were carried out by prominent, international organizations, which were given the opportunity to put together the priorities of the deafblind and establish the basis for an international network. EDbN will look for ways of capitalizing on the potential of recent contacts.

The Deaf-blind Support Found is an NGO established by the Agency for Strategic Initiatives (ASI) to assess the deaf-blind population in Russia, take into account their needs and provide for improving their quality of life, including their integration in social and professional activities.

Deafblindness representatives gathererd in Moscow

Amid Amedi, neurobiologist, Ricard López,  President of the European Deafblind Network, Albin Adam, Deputy Reagional Lead Hephata Fund, Pavel Osipov, Head Enabling Technologies Program of the Deaf-blind Support Found, James Thornberry,  Director, Sense International, Frank Kat, Director of The Royal Dutch Kentalis


May 6th, 2015|News|



 Communication is essential for staying healthy, holding a job, managing a household and participating in the community


March 3, 2015

Modern technology has vastly expanded the way most people communicate through voice, data and video services. But for people who have combined vision and hearing loss, special equipment may be necessary to make a phone call, send an email or access the Internet.

The European Deafblind Equipment Distribution Program will ensure that low-income individuals who have combined hearing and vision loss can access telephone, advanced communications, emergency plans and information services.

We Can Be Connected’ is a project whose initial objective is to apply for funding to the European Commission in order to acquire and distribute the necessary equipment which will provide and guarantee accessibility to communication and information amongst deafblind people with a low level of income across Europe. 


To make contact click here


March 27th, 2015|News|




This Thursday 2 April, the disability movement will be at Geneva to meet the UN Committee and discuss its concerns on how the EU implements the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD).

The EU has ratified the UN Convention in 2010 making it the 1st international human rights treaty that has ever been ratified by a regional organisation. By ratifying the UN Convention, the EU has agreed to take important steps for equal rights and full inclusion of persons with disabilities in all areas of lifeFind more about what the UN Convention foresees at the UN website.

Last year, the EU had to submit a report to the UN Committee to explain what actions it has taken in favor of its 80 million citizens with disabilities. On 2 April 2015, the UN Committee in Geneva will examine for the first time the report by the EU. Find more about the EU review process on EDbN website .

To give the view of citizens with disabilities and cover gaps that the EU report has, EDF prepared the EDF Alternative Report on the implementation of the UN Convention by the EU, based on the expertise of its members all around Europe, civil society organisations and other stakeholders.

Download EDF Alternative Report here (in accessible PDF format with Easy-To-Read translation)


March 24th, 2015|News|



Commissioner Mimica commits to support disability-inclusive development within the EU 

March 9,  2015 

Representa­tives of the European Disability Forum (EDF) and of the International Disability and Develop­ment Consortium (IDDC) met in Brussels with European Com­mi­ssioner for Internatio­nal Cooperation and De­ve­lopment Mimica to discuss European deve­lopment cooperation and the rights of persons with disabilities.

IDDC and EDF reflected on the progress which has been made in recent years in advancing the rights of persons with disabilities in EU external action.

Commisisoner Mimica said that concrete actions need to be taken now by EU institu­tions and delegations to ensure that all of EU development cooperation is truly inclusive and accessible.

More information: Commissioner Mimica commits to support disability-inclusive development within the EU 



March 11th, 2015|News|



As a member of the EDF Board, the EDbN representative, Ricard López, actively attended the meeting representing almost 3 million persons with Deafblindness

February 23, 2015

The disability movement in Europe gathered this weekend in Jurmala, Latvia for EDF’s Board meeting. Before the meeting, a European conference on information and communication technologies for persons with disabilities was organised bringing together more than 150 participants from all around Europe.


Read more: 80 million persons with disabilities call for accessible information and communication technologies  in Latvia (EDF website)


March 5th, 2015|News|



The Board of the European Deafblind Network (EDbN) goes to Brussels to meet the European Commissioner for Employment and Social Affairs, Marianne Thyssen

March 4, 2015

The discriminatory situation of the deafblind people in Europe was one of the main issues of the meeting hold last 3erd of March in Brussels between the board of the European Deafblinf Network (EDbN) and the European Comissioner of Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, Marianne Thyssen

Ramón Tremosa, Member of the European Parliament (MEP) by Convergència i Unió (CiU), accompanied the deafblindness representatives: Ricard López and Lucy Drescher, president and vice-president, respectively, of EDbN, together with Sonja Van de Molengraf and Helle Buelund, members of EDbN too. 

The meeting established a first high level contact in which the needs of deafblindness were exposed. This collective is estimated to be almost 3 million people in Europe and their attention is at a clear disadvantage compared with other collectives. The difficulties they face of accessing communication and information are the biggest obstacles of the deafblind people. There is no European strategy leaded to solve this situation or to care specifically about such a significant collective.

The board of EDbN proposed to start working lines oriented to the identification of this collective, as well as the inclusion of deafblindness in the European Agenda with the same conditions that other disabilities have.

This initiative also has the support of several MEPs from different countries in Europe. Click here for more information about MEPs supporting Deafblindness.


March 3rd, 2015|News|



February 10, 2015

The Way of St. James (Camino de Santiago) is a spiritual journey that pilgrims of all backgrounds have traversed for over a thousand years. Pilgrims walk the Way for various reasons: some to seed penance, others enlightenment, others for a sense of adventure.

Several deafblind people will take up this challenge next September, a week-challenge that calls for visibility of the deafblind. This is an open proposal to deafblind people and their interveners, on the one hand, and relatives of the deafblind and professional volunteers, on the other hand. We consider two different options: by bike and on foot.

For those who prefer to take up this challenge by bike, you can come along with your bike or tandem, and we are planning to cycle a distance of 300 km. We are going to meet in Oviedo between the 12th and the 13th of September 2015 in order to start our long walk. For those who prefer walking, we will meet in Sarria, which is a strategic location, with good travel connections because of its coach and train stations. We will walk 100 km, until we reach the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela.

A deafblind person and his intervener

A deafblind person and his intervener

Once there, the bishop will be waiting for us to celebrate that we overcame the challenge. Our arrival is planned to be on the 19th at 12pm. Both the walkers and the cyclists, deafblind or not, will reach the Cathedral together in order to get the Credential of the Camino de Santiago, a document given to walkers to certify them as pilgrims to record their passage through distinct locations along the routes.


if you are a deafblind relative, a volunteer or a professional in this field and you want to take part in this activity, please contact EDbN for more information: edbn@adbn.org


March 2nd, 2015|News|



February 15, 2015

We are currently working on another project concerning deafblind transport and movement in public spaces, streets and crossings: the red and white cane. This is a white cane with red stripes of 100mm. The deafblind people are using white sticks, which indicates a blind person. But due to the insufficient differentiation, the deafblind people often confront misunderstandings, when for example they do not react to drivers’ appeals at the crossings, and it is even dangerous for the deafblind person.

We want to introduce the red and white cane in our society as a tool to improve the safety of deafblind people in order to enrich their independent life and make them visible to drivers and other pedestrians. We believe that the red and white cane will bring to the deafblind community increased self-confidence and respect from the public.

Therefore, we have two main tasks: to achieve one standard red and white cane and to obtain support to associate this cane with deafblindness. In order to achieve this last aim, a campaign will be launched at four levels: local, central and autonomous communities’ governments, and the European Union.


March 2nd, 2015|News|



January 30, 2015

Once the ‘European Deafblind Indicators’ project was completed, EDbN presented the results and the objectives of this project to all the MEPs who in the last legislature were part of the Disability Intergroup. From the very beginning we had the backup of 20 of them, and that number grew to 22, which is where we stand now. They have supported EDbN in the petition of having a meeting with Commssioner Marianne Thyssen, which will be held next 3rd of March.

These MEPs are the following: 


March 2nd, 2015|News|



June 20, 2014

The European Deafblind Indicators project website project was developed from September 2012 to September 2014 by nine deafblind organizations from eight EU Member States. All of the individual members of the pro¬ject group are part of the European Deafblind Network (EDbN) and it is through this Network that the project was conceived and developed.

This project aims to create a common European framework for the assessment of institutional models of care for the deafblind based on indicators created ex novo: the Indicators of Deafblindness Equality in Europe (IDbEE). Its importance lies in the certainty that great differences in the degree of attention exist between the various European States.

The outcome of this project was nowhere near enough data is collected about deafblindness, and the extent of deafblindness is seriously underestimated. As most organizations do not cater for the specific needs of deafblind people, there are not enough specific deafblind services in most states. Communication support and personal assistance systems for deafblind people in Europe are sketchy at best and inadequate although it withholds their rights to health and social care, family life and leisure. As long as there is better support from the governments, change is possible. Therefore, it is imperative that on a European level we make a noise.


March 2nd, 2015|News|