Laureate Recognizes International Day of Persons with Disabilities - Laureate

Laureate Recognizes International Day of Persons with Disabilities

When Laureate was founded 21 years ago, our guiding belief was “When students succeed, countries prosper, and societies benefit”. For those who have visited our headquarters in Baltimore, you’ll know these words still shine brightly in our lobby.

Thursday, December 3, marks International Day of Persons with Disabilities, a United Nations-sanctioned day that promotes the full and equal participation of people with disabilities, and calls on us to take action.

One in seven people globally live with a disability, and inclusion is not only essential to upholding human rights, sustainable development, and peace and security, it is an investment in our collective future.

Today we stand with, for and by our students, faculty and staff with disabilities. We know that when limitations to inclusion are removed and people with disabilities are empowered to participate fully, we all benefit. On International Day of Persons with Disabilities, we acknowledge their contribution and applaud their success.

One example is our colleague Karol Valdivia, who is a member of Laureate’s Communications and Public Affairs team. Karol is helping address many of the inequalities faced by the deaf community in her home country of Honduras and dedicates much of her time to supporting and empowering young people with hearing loss.

Karol works as a sign language instructor (for hearing students) and is developing online resources and opportunities for young people who are deaf, while also creating new signs for the Honduran Sign Language, LESHO. She is a passionate advocate who firmly believes inclusion, through communication, is everyone’s responsibility. Read more about Karol, here.

Recently, we shared the story of Taís Machado Araujo. After three years of study at IBMR in Rio de Janeiro, Taís, who was born visually impaired, graduated during the pandemic. While Taís experienced difficulties in a different course at another educational institution due to a lack of inclusion, when studying Aesthetics at IBMR, she was given equal access to higher education and was openly included, making it possible for Taís to unlock her potential and excel.

Taís now plans to teach Beauty to visually impaired students in Brazil. Read more about Taís, here.

Another inspiring woman in our network is Guadalupe Martha (Lupita) Rivera Montoya. Living with Cerebral Palsy didn’t stop Lupita from pursuing her dream of studying at university. As a child, Lupita was not accepted at public or private schools, and so began her elementary school level education at the age of 29. She graduated from high school in April this year, aged 48, and then commenced a Bachelor of Education at UVM in Mexico. After being rejected by several universities, UVM granted Lupita admission and awarded her a scholarship.

Like Karol and Taís, Lupita has her own plans to make a positive impact in society – as a special education teacher, helping other students who have not had the opportunity to study, as she did. Read more about Lupita, here.

Collectively, these three incredible women demonstrate how access, inclusion and empowerment can deliver a world that better serves everyone. We are incredibly proud of the examples of Karol, Taís and Lupita, and we take this inspiration as both an important reminder and a call to action.

Adam Smith
Chief Diversity Officer & Vice President | Communications and Public Affairs
Laureate Education, Inc.