FASOCIDE held the III Deafblind Women Gathering

Under the motto “Empowered we are strong and free”, the III Deafblind Women Open Day took place in Castilla y León region, in Valladolid city, last 13th, 14th and 15th of September.

This event was possible to organise thanks the collaboration of the Secretary of State on Social Services of the Ministry of Health, Consumer Affairs and Social Welfare and FASOCIDE.

The main members of the local public administration, autonomous and statewide, attended the opening ceremony.

Jesús Celada, General Director of the Support Policies on Disability of the Health Ministry, Consumer Affairs and Social Welfare, attended the event; also Ms. Mª Isabel Blanco, Family and Equal Opportunities Advisor of the Castilla y León council; Rafaela Romero Viosca, Councillor of Social Services and Community Mediation of the Valladolid City Council, Ms Pilar Villarino; the Secretary of the Board of Foundation CERMI Women, Ms Cristiina Arias; General Councillor of ONCE and spokesperson of the Observatory for Equal Opportunities of ONCE and its Foundation and Ms Rosa María Rubio, President of the Territorial Council of ONCE.

All of them went to an auditorium formed by 24 deafblind women from different automous regions who were accompanied by 16 guide-interpreters and 2 specialists on deafblindness/ group procurers; these open days would have been not possible to carry on without these professionals.

The speeches focused the strength these deafblind women demonstrated because they have been able of organising themselves in order to fight to achieve equal opportunities and to vindicate the human rights and the rights they have as women as well.

In the same way, they expressed that even deafblindness is still unknown as a unique disability, deafblind women are a non-identifying reality. This issue must be approached in order to raise awareness by giving them an active participation: it is crucial to carry out an official census in order to identify them quantitatively, as well as knowing further their real situation. Jesús Celada soundly highlighted it while finishing the opening event.

During the opening we also counted on with the speech of two deafblind women who explained their struggle in order to achieve equal opportunities and they both highlighted as well the relevance of joining forces and the relevance of listening to the experience of peers in order not to feel alone, sharing life stories to reinforce them and help them to feel empowered and free.

One of these speeches was given by Fuensanta Trigueros Molina, chairwoman of the Deafblind Women Committee of the Valencian Region, and the second speech done by the President of ASOCIDE Castilla y Leon and Vicepresident of FASOCIDE, Librada Ruiz Aguilera.

There was an information section included on the open days program and two workshops. The first one was a theoric workshop about empowerment and a discussion symposium. The second one was a practical workshop about feminist self-defence; basic strategies to use in a physical assault situation aimed to male violence.

Salud Abarca leaded, Gender Equality Agent and guide-interpreter of deafblind people, leaded both workshops.

Many people participated in this workshop and deafblind women were able to share their experiences and they asked how to react in alike future situations.

As a conclusion of these open days, we can emphasise:

– Deafblind women vindicate their right to be identified as a collective and as an individual.

– Active participation in an inclusive society and the chance of expressing their own words.

– Training on human rights and specially on those related to women condition.

-. Equal opportunities in every life stratum as the other women with or without disabilities.

– To approach the investigation of the real situation of girls with deafblindness.

– Recognition of the right of communication, thus the right to have the support of a professional guide-interpreter in order to achieve an inclusive life.

– Accessibility to all the existing resources in order to report any kind of violence.

To summarise:

– Recognition of deafblindness by Law with an action plan and a specific service catalogue which covers the unique needs that deafblindness causes as disability.

– Social awareness and public bodies consciousness about the relevance of approaching the training and understanding regarding this disability in order to know the real needs and solve them.

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