AGM 2018 Istanbul

IFHOHYP AGM 2018 was held by our member IED (Association of Hard of Hearing People and Their Families) in Istanbul, Turkey between October, 31st and November, 4th. This event funded by the European Union, "BİRLİKTE“ (TOGETHER) programme that is organized by Civil Society Development Center and main sponsor Cochlear Turkey.

IED hosted 31 Hard of Hearing (HoH) young participants from 14 different countries, 3 valuable speakers, 2 speech-to-text-reporters, 1 technician for induction loop system and 2 sign language interpreters who translated from English to Swedish Sign Language for our Swedish participant.

The goal of workshops by IED was young HoH individuals to understand and share the issues on Hard of Hearing (HoH) rights and accessibility in their countries. In that way, HoH participants were able to make comparisons on HoH rights between countries and to comprehend the importance of United Nations of Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD).

AGM Minutes is visible here.


Day 1 (Sightseeing Day)

Touristic and historical places of Istanbul are visited. The aim was participants to be informed about Istanbul and Turkish culture and observe the lacks of accessibility issues. Therefore, an entertaining and creative quiz prepared by IED and groups separated by IED found answers from places they visited.

Day 2 (Workshops & Speaker Sessions by IED)

The morning started with presentation by IED Board Member and former IFHOHYP Vice President Alper Coskun. Alper informed participants about IED’s past, present and future projects. The main sponsor Cochlear had a short presentation and later on IED Youth Committee Secretary Ece Saygi and Member Ediz Tekok explained the positive and negative points on Turkish Hard of Hearing Young People. By the way, the group with most creative and accurate answers of the sightseeing quiz won the competition and each group member had a prize which was a key ring of hand sign for “I love you” by IED. After we had coffee break, participants were asked to discuss their positive and negative issues on HoH rights in their countries and fill the form asking these questions:
Is there speech-to-text reporter in universities / schools?
Are cochlear implant operations / hearing aids free for all people?
Is there any hiring quota for disabled people?
Is there subtitles in cinema for local movies?
Is speech-to-text reporting a profession?
Is sign language interpreting a profession?

We began afternoon sessions with Youth Trainer Elif Serbest and she asked participants to create an imaginary island without limits. They would decide on the name, motto, flag and 10 law articles. Examples from groups:

Whale: “Where people are unlimited”
Parrot Island: “We are flying for more”
Dogistan: “Open to everyone”
Magnolia: “The better nature, the better life.”

The common law articles of the 4 groups are “free education for everyone”, “fully accessible” and “the place where everyone is equal”. Elif aimed participants to force their minds to think about an ideal rules of an ideal country and world.

The next session was about UN CRPD which was presented by the Disability Rights Activist and Researcher Idil Seda AK. The most questions from participants were:
1- How and where should we convey right violations to UN
2- What kind of advantages would UN CRPD provide on right violation

It is stated by Idil that the countries that signed the UN annually have to submit a report and the NGOs working in the field of disability can also write a shadow report. When she asked participants if any organisation from their countries wrote any shadow report, only Turkey responded positively.

For the second question, it was answered by Idil that the UN does not have a sanction power but may disclose the countries who have signed but not applied UN CRPD. Therefore, there is an advantage that the failure to comply with this Convention in the courts of the signatories of this Convention will be considered as a violation of the law.

Day 3 (Workshops & Speaker Sessions by IED and AGM by IFHOHYP)

Our valuable guest speaker Muhammad Akram from Pakistan explained how IFHOH had impact on forming an awareness on HoH issues and establishment of Federation of Hard of Hearing in Asia Pacific in 2012. He also stated that in many countries of Asia the conditions for the deaf are bad such that quality of hearing aid is bad and access to education is a big problem.

But these situations should not cause to demoralization, because they are better than they were 20 years ago. Although the process progressed slowly, they announced that they raise their voices more and more every year and also benefited from the cooperation between the countries. Our speaker also answered the questions about the situations in Asian countries.

Later on, a human rights activity “Take a Step Forward” explained by IED. Each participant would get a role card and adapt the role in their cards. Some example roles:
“You are a 24-year-old refugee from Afghanistan.”
“You are the daughter of the American ambassador to the country where you are now living.”
“A young girl who lives in Middle East.”

The participants would adapt their roles to the situations told by IED and take a step forward if this situation applies to their roles. Some example of situations:
“I can use and benefit from the Internet.”
“I can go away on holiday once a year.”
“I am not afraid of being harassed or attacked in the streets, or in the media.”

This activity attracted participants’ attention because they realized that each role is actually not like written on paper, but also their culture and living conditions shape the roles. For example, if the role “A Muslim young girl” who lives in Germany would be different from a Muslim young girl in India.

First part of AGM by IFHOHYP started. Former President Victor opened AGM and welcomed delegates from national organisations to AGM. The Agenda, Minutes from 2017 had been approved. The Annual Report 2017-2018 had been presented and approved. The Financial Report had been presented with recommendations for changes by the Auditor and postponing approval until the next AGM. After long and tiring days, participants had a chance to enjoy the Gala night. They enjoyed Istanbul Bosphorus view from the top, dance a lot(!), watch Turkish deaf rapper signing rap song and surely enjoy drinks!

Day 4 (AGM)

IFHOHYP continued AGM with the elections of motions on constitution and of new members for IFHOHYP Board. IFHOH and EFHOH Representative Marcel Bobeldijk presented these federations and had few advices for IFHOHYP members. The Work Programme 2019 and Budget 2019 by IFHOHYP had been presented to delegates and discussed what IFHOHYP can do for young HoH people in the year 2019. It was clarified that IFHOHYP will be more present in important events such as Conference Parties for UNCRPD, AGM by EFHOH etc. IFHOHYP needs also to work more on new project ideas and get funds for it. The possible project ideas shared by delegates such as improving palantypist service and providing informations between national organisations. The board will work on these project ideas and try to find funds for it.

After presentations board announced next events such as study session in cooperation with the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, possible AGM 2019 in Switzerland and Summer Camp 2020 in Canada.

Bowen Tang was elected as President, Manuel Rohrbach as Vice President and Cathy Geurts as Board Member.

AGM was closed before lunch and then participants went back to their countries.

AGM Minutes is visible here.

Some feedbacks from participants:

“Some workshops were very interesting for me like to learn what are the most
common problem in Europe is the lack of Speech-to-Text interpreters… and also it was interesting to learn how conditions are in Asia, and in Turkey as well.”

“My comment is about organisation and I like to thank you, your organisation, in Istanbul, I like Turkey, I like Istanbul, I like hotel, I like the view from the window, and I like the... the food, [Laughter]. I think we all agree that everything we try is tasteful every time.”

“I did find it an eye opener last night when only Turkey raised their hand as the only organisation who is involved in the UN reporting. So it is quite interesting to see you know, how what kind of role could we play to be involved in the conversation, you know to share the difficulties, the challenges that we face, as young hard of hearing people. So that is
actually opens up the door for us to think about what the next step that we can take
together to be involved in those conversations,..”

“I was very inspired by some of the talks about the conditions in Turkey and in Asia and Pakistan. I have been very inspired by just talking to people, based on the things we have done during the sessions. I also really liked this exercise (take a step forward) just now. So, I am very happy.”

“I liked the workshop (imaginary island) because we were expressing and discussing what kind of ideas we would like for the ideal community, and I really liked when we are sat in groups and are forced to think about and express what we would really would like to have because in these kind of workshops you are forced to think about this stuff and to discuss it, and I think we are learning a lot from each other when we are doing it in this way.”

“AGM and conference are needed because we have the power to make IFHOHYP better and to get to know the organization better. It is crucial in order to raise awareness around HOH people around the world”

“About dream island yesterday, this workshop showed me that all of us had the
same dream, and all of us want to live in ideal country, in ideal state, and this is the
only positive, not the only, but it is the only practical conclusion of this exercise. And
another, another conclusion I got a bit upset because this ideal state is very difficult to
be reached. So this is dream and it will be our dream.”

“It was an experience of lifetime”

“It is important to have AGM because people from the whole world can meet and work with important questions. Everybody is in the same situation and is hard of hearing.”

Ediz Tekok

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