June is Deafblind Awareness Month!
In June 2021, members of the deafblind community all over the world will be coming together through a largescale tactile arts awareness campaign championed by Deafblind International (DbI). Community objects in cities and countries across the globe will be yarn bombed, a form of street art where yarn that is knit, crochet, or wrapped, adorns an object in a public space.
These installations will be constructed by people with deafblindness, their families and loved ones, advocates, Human support services/ Interpreter-guides/ Deafblind interpretation services/ Support Service Programs/ Intervenors/ Support Service Providers (SSP), and others in the field. The goal of yarn bombing is to increase awareness and knowledge of deafblindness as a unique disability and to influence for appropriate services for people who are deafblind around the world.
In Canada, June 2021 marks the 6th anniversary since a motion was passed in the Senate of Canada declaring June as National Deafblind Awareness Month. Each June, people with deafblindness, service providers, and supporters come together to ‘Make a Wave from Coast to Coast’, with a passion to make a difference and raise awareness. This year, the group is coordinating yarn bombing projects across the country as part of the bigger, global initiative.
“Yarn bombing presents a unique and creative way for communities to work together to raise awareness during National Deafblind Awareness Month, especially with increased social distancing protocols in place,” says Karen Madho, Co-Chair of the National Deafblind Awareness Month (NDBAM) Committee and Senior Coordinator of Public Relations at DeafBlind Ontario Services.
Penny Leclair, Co-Chair of the NDBAM Committee adds, “yarn bombing is a safe way to draw public attention to our awareness efforts, especially those who do not know anything about deafblindness.”
“It is my hope to motivate other people who are deafblind to get involved in bringing awareness of our needs and abilities to the public. I am always looking for ways to make others more aware of what life is like for Canadians who are deafblind,” says Penny, a member of three boards of directors; the Canadian National Society of the Deaf-Blind, The CNIB Deafblind Community Services, and Barrier-Free Canada – Canada Sans Barrières.
The NDBAM Committee is a collaborative effort that includes organizations from Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, British Columbia, and Manitoba. Representatives from all provinces are engaging in yarn bombing projects in coordination with their networks.
“As each knit or crochet square comes together to cover a designated community space or object, it symbolizes the coming together of people in the field of deafblindness,” says Karen. If you are interested in learning more about DbI’s yarn bombing initiative, please visit their website. To join the movement in Canada, connect with Karen Madho.