Sense International

Vital help in the poorest parts of the world

Grace, from Kenya, at her school deskSense is committed to sharing the knowledge and skills we have built up in over fifty years of supporting deafblind people.

We are strongly conscious that - especially in its early days – Sense was greatly helped by colleagues from abroad  with experience of working with deafblind people. In recognition of this, Sense International was set up in 1994 to bring much-needed support and services to deafblind people in some of the poorest parts of the world. 

Today, Sense International is a global charity that supports deafblind people in India, Bangladesh, Peru, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, and Romania. We are one of the world’s leading international organisations working for deafblind people and their families.

With this support, deafblind children can finally receive the medical and educational support they need. They can learn to communicate, to develop self-care skills, receive an education and perhaps find a job. Rather than being excluded they can thrive and live as valued human beings.

To ensure that we can make a lasting and sustainable difference, we work in active partnerships with local organisations and governments. We provide expertise and training to local organisations and persuade governments to provide support.  We aim to put support in place so that we can walk away and leave solid expertise behind. 

Rescued from loneliness, welcomed to life

Supporting deafblind people to live, learn and thrive

Sense International gives children and adults the chance to break through the isolation of deafblindness, and be as independent as possible. With support and education, deafblind people can communicate, go to school, take care of themselves and become valued members of their communities.

  • Finding the children that need help

We strive to identify deafblind children as young as possible. Vital assessments and support from medical and education professionals will give them the best chance in life.

  • Education

Deafblind children need to learn in a way that is tailored to their very special needs. We develop school and home-based education, train teachers and support families – often in partnership with local governments.

  • Work and belonging

If deafblind people can get work, they can earn a wage and participate in their local community. We develop vocational training to make this happen.

  • Backing local people

We work to strengthen local organisations and groups – everything from parent groups to disability organisations and governments - so that they can provide the support deafblind people need. 

  • Campaigning for change

Sense International and its partners lobby governments to recognise the unique challenges faced by deafblind people and to provide health, education and care services.

A deafblind girl sitting on a chair

Life story: Alisha from India

Alisha’s story is one of determination and triumph. She was born deafblind and was unable to walk, and was completely bedridden for seven years. She has three disabled brothers and sisters.

After her father left, her mother Sahila became the sole bread-winner for the family, cooking at a local Madrasa and giving tuition to increase her meagre income.

Finally, Alisha and her three disabled brothers and sister were taken to Patna for medical help. She was also assessed and started to receive training from special educators from Sense International (India) and partner organisation Ashadeep- Patna.

Today, Alisha is much more confident and has developed the skills to perform day-to-day activities independently. “I wish I had known in the beginning that deafblindness didn't mean the end of the world for my child,” says Sahila.

“With the tireless help of Sense International, Alisha spoke for the very first time when she was ten. I started crying, it was nothing less than a miracle for us. I gathered our neighbours to make them hear Alisha’s voice.”

Visit Sense International website for more information about the work we do around the world.


First published: Thursday 30 May 2013
Updated: Tuesday 22 December 2015