For over 31 years, Perkins has worked with its partners in Chile to enhance the quality of education for hundreds of children with visual impairment and multiple disabilities. In 2022, our collaborative work reached new heights as we established a strategic working group in Chile. Together, we’re sharing best practices and orchestrating systematic change to make Chile a better place for people with disabilities.
Called GEDIM (Grupo Estratégico de Discapacidad Múltiple y Sordoceguera), the group includes diverse organizations and member leaders from civil society, engaging in training initiatives, knowledge creation within academic circles, and passionate advocacy for legislation related to deafblindness.
Among these remarkable individuals is Analía Chamorro, a young law student who has deafblindness. Her story serves as a powerful testament to the resilience that underpins the pursuit of human rights for individuals with disabilities. Below, you will have the opportunity read Analia’s story in her own words, as she shares her personal experiences and her enduring dedication to advocating for the rights of those with disabilities in Chile.
As a person with deafblindness and a law student in Chile, I can see a gap between what the law dictates and what occurs in real life. In Chile, we have specific laws, and we are also signatories to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. However, these legal provisions are often insufficient in everyday life. It’s in our daily experiences that we encounter not only physical barriers but also behavioral ones: walking along and being pushed or receiving disparaging comments is just a small part of what I experience day after day. Nevertheless, despite all the negative experiences, there are positive aspects to share, and that’s also what this account is about – focusing on our rights and what we can do.
When I finished high school, and it was time to enter university, I thought everything would be different. I believed I would discover a world of mature, empathetic, and respectful people. But my illusion didn’t last long. I found myself in the same world I had traversed during childhood and adolescence – one marked by resistance, isolation, and indifference.
Resistance was always present. Unfortunately, every time I wanted to start something new in my life, I was used to hearing the phrase, “We’re not prepared to accommodate you.” And after overcoming this resistance, I had to face isolation, which was a very harsh experience. Being in class and having classmates not greet you or refuse to sit beside you, let alone guide you to a place, is disheartening. Adding to this is dealing with indifference, having teachers who were unaware of my condition and conducting their classes by saying, “look at the screen and read the assignment.”
I have to confess that these situations often frustrated me, making me question whether I could continue. But at the same time, I had a tremendous inner strength that motivated me to move forward. A significant portion of this drive and energy is owed to my dear family, who always supported me and, above all, believed in me. After all my experiences, I can affirm that these things happen, and we can make them a part of the past.
Today, I’m just months away from becoming a lawyer. I can say that in university, I’ve built wonderful relationships, found my place as a student, and earned a position as a teaching assistant. In this role, I enjoy teaching and always emphasize the concept of diversity, respecting differences, and enriching one another. I’m also working as a tutor for a student on the autism spectrum and conducting research on the challenges of migration regulation regarding immigrants with disabilities.
Now, as I near the end of this stage, a new chapter and challenge in my life are approaching – becoming a judge. I know the journey will be difficult, but I’ve fallen and risen a thousand times over, and in this context of adversity, I’ve transformed pain into strength.
Like me, people are waiting to enter university, and if I can break down these barriers and make the path smoother and lighter, I will certainly do it. Even if it means going through those tough times, it doesn’t matter to me because I know that there are people who have a lot of faith in me. I’m confident that all that I’ve been through and achieved, some people will also achieve and appreciate it in a better way than I did.
Every day and around the world, children and young adults with disabilities are excluded from school and their community. If you believe every child deserves the opportunity to learn, support our work.