Deaf Advocate Paola Duarte on Gender-Based Violence

Many Paraguayan women who are deaf or hard of hearing do not know their rights and face barriers to communication. I consider it very important to create spaces where we can learn about prevention of gender-based violence – whether economic, physical, psychological, etc. – the same information I learned through the Pan American Development Foundation (PADF) and now lead trainings on.

Deaf people need sign language interpreters both in person and virtually, which can be very costly. That is why the support we receive from PADF is incalculable. We greatly value this access to interpreters, which removes barriers to communication and makes it possible for us to share information with more women.

Paola Duarte
Paola Duarte

Many Paraguayan women who are deaf or hard of hearing do not know their rights and face barriers to communication. I consider it very important to create spaces where we can learn about prevention of gender-based violence – whether economic, physical, psychological, etc. – the same information I learned through the Pan American Development Foundation (PADF) and now lead trainings on.

Deaf people need sign language interpreters both in person and virtually, which can be very costly. That is why the support we receive from PADF is incalculable. We greatly value this access to interpreters, which removes barriers to communication and makes it possible for us to share information with more women.

I was surprised and impacted by practically everything I learned in PADF’s trainings. It was hard to understand concepts that did not exist in my sign language, like gender. However, once we learned and understood, we were able to create signs for words like this. In doing so, we also enriched our local sign language.

I was struck by the Deaf community’s interest in my trainings, because I did not think that I would be able to reach so many people. More than 90 Deaf people participated in a six-hour training on gender-based violence, the first such training in Paraguay to ever be conducted completely in sign language."

Going forward, I would like to continue training and reporting on issues related to gender-based violence and reach more people. I was struck by the Deaf community’s interest in my trainings, because I did not think that I would be able to reach so many people. More than 90 Deaf people participated in a six-hour training on gender-based violence, the first such training in Paraguay to ever be conducted completely in sign language. I would also like to work with the Ministry of Women, police stations, and psychological care providers to make sign language interpretation more widely available.

To improve our Paraguay, my long-term dream is to become a congresswoman to help the Deaf community and people with other types of disabilities.

Paola Duarte is president of Centro de Sordos del Paraguay (CSPy), a civil society organization that advocates for the rights of Deaf people in Paraguay. Through their partnership with PADF, CSPy provides trainings on recognizing and combating gender-based violence.

Published on March 7, 2022.

Carlo Arze

Carlo Arze

Country Representative – Paraguay

Email: connect@padf.org

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