Disability.  From Zulia to Santa Cruz in the dark for an opportunity and work

That of the Venezuelan Carlos García is a story of resilience to complete vision loss and a journey in search of better days from his native Zulia to the Bolivian city of Santa Cruz, from where he is now incorporated into the workforce and employed Technology support justifies.

“Society is sometimes more blind than the blind. If society knew the skills that are present in every person with a disability, there would be no such separation or discrimination of any kind, ”García told Efe.

The Venezuelan is 39 years old and arrived three years ago in Santa Cruz, the largest city in Bolivia, where he mainly devotes himself to teaching the visually, hearing or physically handicapped lessons on the use of technology.

Sometimes he also advises on theses in engineering or education, and if none of those jobs come out, he makes a living from making and selling bread or typical Venezuelan food, he said.

But “this is a lottery” that hardly helps him because he is a diabetic who needs insulin and also sends money to his wife and children in Venezuela, and since he does not have a permanent job, he cannot bring them to Bolivia.

The Venezuelan is not looking for help, but a job opportunity to prove his skills and have enough stability to fulfill his greatest wish, namely to reunite his family.

Adjustment path

García is a systems engineer and senior technician in industrial electronics, although only the second profession is recognized in Bolivia because his other documents have remained in Venezuela.

Twelve years ago, he completely lost his sight due to diabetic retinopathy and went through a “traumatic” adjustment process in which the support of his family and friends and the decision to take the first step were critical.

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When he had the problem, he was a production manager at a poultry company, designing websites and teaching at a university, then he was overcome by doubts and fear of what they are about to say, encouraged by prejudice about disability, he said.

“I said how should I work now, what will my family do, what will my friends tell me, how should I take to the streets and no one will love me, they” will reject me, etc. They taught you to be Perceiving disability, “he said.

never give up

Those myths collapsed when he decided to move forward on the path of rehabilitation, which was “not easy” and which those who want to undertake it need to keep in mind, he said.

With discipline, perseverance and dedication, García adapted his previous knowledge to his new reality and decided to devote himself to training in the field of technologies for people with disabilities.

But the crisis forced him to leave his country in search of better days for himself and his family.

LABOR INCLUSION, A PENDING BUT URGENT QUESTION

CENTRAL DEVELOPMENT

So he arrived in Santa Cruz, where the doors to a permanent job are not open to him, “one because he is blind and the other because he is a foreigner,” he said.

And the fact is that in South America “blindness is a disability that is more difficult to incorporate professionally, educationally and socially” because “they always prefer a person with a physical or hearing impairment to a person with a visual impairment, even if they make mistakes “The level of professionalization, experience or any other curricular competence one may have”.

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“In Europe or North America, society reacts to inclusive processes. Here we are quite a long way from that, we have legal bases, institutions and everything, but that’s where it stays, ”he complained.

However, García does not give up and tries, from where it touches him, to spread the importance of people, especially people with disabilities, who are learning to use technology, “because they can increase the dropout rate reduce and improve work, education and social skills ”.

The Venezuelan teaches other blind people to use the cell phone, to use some computer programs such as Word, Excel, Power Point and, among other things, to access their e-mails.

One of her students is Hilda Helguero, a Braille teacher who assured Efe that “everything costs in the beginning, but you have to work hard to get there.”

“It would be good if we could all train ourselves to change that, job refusal and education,” said Helguero, who also questioned whether people mistakenly believe that blindness is “synonymous with the fact that nothing can be done”.

The road to inclusion is long, but García is aware of his goal, which is to reunite his family.

“If I have to leave Bolivia and cross half the world because there will be this job opportunity, I will do it for your good,” he added.

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