Who is IFHOHYP? Sidsel Munkebo Hansen, past President, gave a fitting response – “WE ARE IFHOHYP”. IFHOHYP is not just an organization run by Board members; it is a living, breathing entity whose energy is sustained by at least hard of hearing young people around the world dedicated to make a difference in their communities. The more people there are to nourish IFHOHYP, the stronger we can become.
All our activities have a common purpose, to allow our members:
- Build self-confidence and develop a positive attitude towards their unique identities in the larger society
- Identify their rights and needs for access to be fully included in the larger society
- Employ strategies to advocate for the rights and needs to be included in the larger society
Why join IFHOHYP, you ask? There is no place that is more accessible than IFHOHYP events with our needs taken into consideration. All the attendees may come from different walks of life, but they have one thing in common: understanding the challenges of living with hearing loss. This makes everyone the best communication partners a hard of hearing person can ever ask for. There is no hesitation to ask for repetition because you know they will be glad to do so. Simply listening to their experiences and finding commonalities in their struggles was enough to remind us that we are not alone.
- At one of the events I attended last year, I found inspiration in a powerful message from a deaf medical practitioner about being an advocate:
- Be upfront about what you need to minimize potential problems,
- Challenge yourself to do one thing different (venture out of your comfort zone),
- Make the environment suitable for you,
- Stop being cautious and go all out (it never hurts to try), and
- Be proactive – tell people who you are from the get go
Socializing with other hard of hearing young adults is always a highlight because we just clicked right away. It was very easy to talk to one another and before you know it we had crazy fun times, all because we know we are in a safe space where we can explore our identities together.
This is what the IFHOHYP offers. Through our activities such as study sessions, summer camps, etc., hard of hearing young people can come together to exchange ideas while having a blast. These are all facilitated by dedicated volunteers from our member organizations, many whom are generous to host international activities. Since joining IFHOHYP in 2014, I have made lasting friendships and proud to call these people my second family.
We, IFHOHYP, want to listen to you, know you, and learn from you. We rely on your experience and expertise from your local organization to share best practices. Let us work together to build an international federation that advocates for hearing accessibility and inclusion for hard of hearing young people worldwide. We are HEAR 2 STAY. If you are ready to be part of the movement contact us at email@example.com.