Deafblindness in Germany

Deafblindness is a medical condition that falls through the cracks of the German health care system. Unlike the deaf or the blind, deafblind people are not represented by a lobby and hardly appear in public discourse. Because of this lack of recognition and funding, many deafblind people live isolated, unable to take part in social life.

The disability has many faces. Some people are born deafblind, others become deafblind due to illness or accident. Not everyone affected is completely deaf and blind, in many cases people still have some residual hearing or sight. There are no exact numbers on how many people are affected in Germany. The endowment “Taubblind Leben” estimates the number of deafblind living in Germany at between 2500 and 6000, other estimations say it could be up to 10000. After a statement of the Parliament of the EU in 2004, prompting the member states to improve upon the living conditions of deafblind people, Germany has done little effort to fulfill this goal. Although deafblindness has been recognised as an independent disability in late 2016, the concrete benefits remain unclear.

The project contains pictures of three protagonists: Kimberly, who is 13 years old and deaf and blind from birth on, Timo, who has been born blind and almost deaf and spent his whole life in care institutions and Sabine, who became deaf and blind because of brain tumors in 2009 . All of them were living in a specialized care institution in Hanover, Germany, by the time the pictures were taken.

Project year: 2016 – 2017

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