With funding from VIVA Girls, Estefanía, a blind young woman activist, works to promote autonomy among other young women with disabilities in Panama, who face discrimination and violence because of both their gender and ability status.
Through a four-day workshop, Estefanía brought together young women and girls with disabilities from across the country. The participants built community and learned skills to advocate for themselves and their communities.
Estefanía crafted the workshop to address the feeling of powerlessness that young women with disabilities may feel in the face of continued discrimination. The participants learned yoga and took an accessible self-defense class. These activities reinforced the importance of self-care and trusting themselves.
At the end of the workshop, each participant developed an action plan that detailed steps they will take to improve the lives of other young women with disabilities in their communities. These plans ranged from developing a 2-day workshop to promote health and sexual education for people with disabilities, to creating online resources for Deaf women on YouTube. As these leaders return to their communities and create their own programs, the tools and knowledge gained will spread, creating lasting impact and deepening the disability justice movement by and for girls with disabilities.