Leaving No D/deaf Child Behind – The Start of a Journey…Our first Day Conference was an outstanding success. More than 60 decision makers from global safeguarding, health, development and humanitarianism, gathered at the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health; speakers and session leaders from Zimbabwe, South Africa, Palestine and more.
The theme of the Day was ‘Leave No D/deaf Child Behind’ and to ensure this, we set out a challenge to everyone present; that they should look to integrate D/deaf children and young people into their programmatic planning and implementation.
To do this successfully means a shift in thinking. A new paradigm of empowerment that doesn’t see D/deaf children as a hard to reach group that require specialist and expensive support; support that never gets funded because it’s not ‘cost effective’. And so we go round in circles, effectively condemning D/deaf children, because of their D/deafness, to a life of poverty, abuse and marginalisation.
We’re not having that.
More advocacy work needs to be done, so we’re going to ramp up our efforts to ensure D/deaf children and young people are included at the highest level of global safeguarding and health decision making.And already, we’re having some success. As delegates to the Day Conference heard, the UNICEF global End Violence campaign will encompass the needs of D/deaf children and young people. An undertaking we will continue to progress with Susan Bissell and her colleagues in New York and worldwide.
And in terms of the challenge we tabled at the Day Conference? Again, we’re making some progress;
Save the Children UK’s commitment to fund our research work on the needs of D/deaf children in the current European refugee, migrant and asylum seeker crisis; the findings of which could have a profound impact upon Save’s programmatic design and planning work.
The Consortium for Street Children’s global strategy will look to include the safeguarding, communication and healthcare needs of D/deaf children.
The British Council is exploring inclusion of D/deaf children in its global work. In both Jamaica and South Africa we’re making progress.
The Day Conference was an experiment, a test, and it worked. We’re going to develop the Conference concept so that it becomes a global forum for stakeholders working with D/deaf children in health, development and humanitarianism, to look at the issues and challenges they face.
Next year the Conference will take place in Kingston, Jamaica. We look forward to seeing you there.