The Official Opening of WFD 2015 World Congress

The official opening of WFD 2015 World Congress was wonderful!

CBM delegates pitched in the morning to set up the shared booth of CBM and Kentalis. I was especially thrilled to see the new pull-up banner displayed which was generously donated to CBM by one of our partners. It helped captured the attention of WFD participants that may not have known the works of CBM well. As people came to our booth to learn more about CBM, the delegates were eager to explain CBM and its work within the deaf, hard of hearing and deafblind communities. We stressed that CBM is striving to expand and understand programmes with sensitivity to the needs of deaf, hard of hearing and deafblind persons.

Later in the day, we had an official opening ceremony filled with music and dance representing the Turkish culture which, included the deaf individuals from Turkey. Presentations from government officials were given. While, I throughlt enjoyed the opening ceremony as a whole, I was most impacted by the presentations of the World Federation of the Deaf Youth Group (WFDYG) and Dr. Liisa Kauppinen (former WFD president).

Watching the WFDYG, I was encouraged to see the participation of the youth. It was very clear that the youth have the same passion to improve the status of deaf persons worldwide. It is so crucial to ensure that we invest in the youth because they are the future of the world and will carry the successes and failures of development processes. We must encourage the youth to recognize thier potential and ability to lead!

Watching Dr. Liisa Kauppinen present was one of the highlight of my day. Many points that Kauppinen made, hit home especially the issue of discrimination against girls and women with disabilities. She makes it clear that we must change the world to meet the needs of deaf individuals and not wait for others to change it. She also stated that in order to change the world, we must understand what diversity means and utilise tools that respects the differences of those we serve rather than the paternalizing those we are meant to support.