Sense runs education care for Romania's deafblind children

Joe Gill

Sense International is planning to visit Romanian hospitals to look for deafblind children and give them specialist care in a new phase of its partnership with the Romanian Ministry of Education.

Sense has previously had a five-year contract with the ministry to develop services for deafblind children, according to its director Richard Hawkes.

Hawkes is in Romania this week meeting the head of the National Authority for Child Protection and Adoption, which has control of long-stay institutions, and will give the charity access to the children.

Until Sense's arrival in 1999, Romania had not offered any provision for deafblind children at home or in long-stay hospitals.

Sense plans to train teachers in special-needs schools, care workers in state institutions, and parents of deafblind children.

Romania has recently recognised the rights of all children, including those with multiple disabilities, to appropriate education.

Hawkes said: "These partnerships have been about changing Romanian policy. In 1999, there wasn't a word in Romania for deafblindness, and there were no deafblind children in the state's education sector. The Romanian government really is a long way ahead of many other countries in this area now."

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