Having operated in Malawi for fifteen years, VIHEMA Deafblind is realizing its vision and mission of the wellbeing and participation of Deafblind persons in Malawi. Like anyone in society, Deafblind persons have the right to participation in the society.
From 2009-2011 VIHEMA Deafblind did a needs assessment project that saw many of its target group members coming up with diverse ideas on how best to live and be of use to the country. The exercise gave VIHEMA an insight on best practices in transforming the public so that it starts mainstreaming Deaf-blindness in their programs.
In 2012-2013, with funds from Reserve Bank of Malawi, VIHEMA Deafblind was tasked to perfect the new features on the Malawi Kwacha Bank notes for easy use for the visually impaired persons. The project was successful and the notes were qualified.
VIHEMA-Deafblind with funding from ABILIS, implemented an electoral process to allow Deafblind persons to vote on their own in the last 2014 tripartite elections. As Deafblind advocate , VIHEMA accessed the funding from ABILIS to carry out an adventurous project wh
ere it wanted the electoral managing body to prepare Tactile Barrot guides and translate all electoral messages in Braille to allow voters with visual impairment access them without much ado. This project was adhered to by many and for first time, there was a voter tactile Ballot guide in Malawi.
The Disability Rights Fund (DRF) supports the project that advocates and lobby for an inclusive education policy as well as bring awareness in schools on the need to embrace Deafb
lind learners of all ages or create space for learners with learners with learning difficulties. The association has successfully managed to convince the Education managing structures in Chiladzulu district and the general public to create space for Deafblind children in the education system.
VIHEMA-Deafblind Malawi discovered that health matters are a cross cutting obligation and that Deafblind community in Malawi rarely access such services making them vulnerable to harassment and abuse of their rights. The most visible health deficit category for the Deafblind is Sexual Reproductive Health (SRH) as not many Deafblind people have regular access to health facilities; neither
do health personnel themselves know how to manage Deafblind cases. It is from this background that VIHEMA Deafblind was compelled to have a project on Family Planning (FP) and Sexual Reproductive Health in 2015 with Funding from UN-Family Planning –Rapid Response Mechanism. The project, which is currently in the pilot stage will be extended to reach out to more deafblind persons in the country. Through the project’s successes, adjustments for inclusion are taking place in the health sector; starting with orienting more health personnel to master Deafblind communication skills to effectively serve persons with Deafblindness.