Youth leaders from traditionally marginalized deaf and indigenous communities in Paraguay were trained on gender-based violence prevention methodologies. These trainees are now certified to build the capacity of other members from their communities, using sign language and Guaraní. This train-the-trainer component has a multiplying effect, reaching vulnerable populations who would otherwise not have access to tools and information on gender-based violence. This important program is funded by the State Department Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs.
Graciela, Director of the Center for Deaf People in Paraguay, and Paola, a sign language interpreter, co-led the trainings for the deaf community, convening 86 people in a first-of-its-kind workshop on gender-based violence, conducted solely in sign language.
The Pan American Development Foundation (PADF) and local partners Base Educativa y Communitaria de Apoyo (BECA) and Fundación SARAKI developed materials tailored to the needs of the deaf community, including videos in sign language.
At the end of the training, a male participant stood up and said: “I now realize that I was a violent man. I encourage all of you to go home today and apologize to the women we have harmed without knowing this was violence.”
This project is critical because women and girls with physical and intellectual disabilities are at increased risk of being victims of various forms of violence, including sexual abuse.
Gelga, an indigenous young woman who was certified as a master trainer on prevention of gender-based violence, returned to her community of El Chaco with a desire to empower others. She was so moved by her new knowledge, that she mobilized support from local authorities and indigenous leaders to replicate the training with other indigenous youth leaders.
More recently, certified youth leaders organized a gender-based violence prevention workshop in their community of Amambay, located in the border of Paraguay and Brazil. A diverse group of participants attended this session, including students, indigenous youth, and members of the LGBQI+ community. This workshop was held in Portuguese, Spanish, and Guaraní.