The European Community Deafblind Secretariat (ECDBS), which later became the European Deafblind Network (EDbN), was founded in Dublin in 1987. Representatives from a variety of groups, including National Deafblind Citizens groups, family member organizations, and professional organizations from many EU nations, came together to form the association.
In a meeting in Greece in 1994, the ECDBS Council decided to change the name of the Organization to EDbN. Today, the governing body of the association is the General Assembly and the Management Committee.
In 2003, despite a lack of funding, the EDbN team persevered and were able to continue the work. Nowadays, the EDbN Management Committee is made up of deafblind people, family members and professional experts who have specific studied this disability. Furthermore, it is noteworthy that the majority of the association members are volunteers.
The EDbN is composed of members from 27 different countries who actively participate in the association. Since its foundation in 1987, the association has supported about 120 different multinational projects, conferences, seminars, study groups, cultural exchanges and meetings. In most cases, the activities carried out by the EDbN are deafblind International network activities, such as European conferences for family members. The last activity performed by the association has been the Deafblindindicators.eu< em>, a project to which the European Commission has given a star.
Today, the EDbN is a network of people fighting for greater recognition of deafblindness in Europe and for the inclusion of deafblind people’s needs in European society and policy work. The Chair of the EDbN is a member of the European Disability Forum (EDF), which enables the association to work together with other disability organizations around Europe, as well as to take part in European Union policy work.
The EDF often asks the EDbN to contribute to policy work in order to ensure that the needs of the deafblind people are developed and enforced. In addition, all the EDbNmembers have a lot of experience within the framework of deafblindness and have the support of different kind of experts, such as psychologists, support workers, Interpreters, interveners, orientation & mobility experts, etc.
In 1987 the ECDBS, European Community Deafblind Secretariat, was established in Dublin by national representatives of deafblind organisations, family members organisations and professional organisations from the EU countries. In 1994 the Council meeting of ECDBS in Greece decided to change the name of the organisation to EDbN, (European Deafblind Network). The governing body of EDbN is the General Assembly and the Management Committee. In 2003 a decision was made to continue the work of EDbN despite a lack of funding. The General Assembly is made up of deafblind people, family members and professionals.
The Management Committee is made up of deafblind people, family members and professionals, most of whom work voluntarily. As the membership of the EU has grown, so has the membership of EDbN. Now, the majority of the 27 Member States are represented and actively involved. The activities of EDbN are diverse and have developed over the years. In the past EdbN supported about 120 different multinational projects during the first 12 years of its existence; conferences, seminars, study groups, cultural exchanges and meetings. Many of them were Dbl network activities. Three very successful European Conferences for family members were also organised.
Now EDbN is a network of people campaigning for greater recognition of deafblindness in Europe and the inclusion of the needs of deafblind people in European society and policy work.
The Chair of EDbN is a member of the European Disability Forum (EDF). This allows us to work with other European disability organisations and take part in the policy work of the European Union. EDF often asks EDbN to contribute to policy work to ensure that the needs of deafblind people are included. The expertise of all the members of EDbN is valuable to this work. A group of ‘Experts’ has been created to formalise this work.