Diversity is the key…

We talked to Silvana Bonnet, Communication Manager of Canales Asociación Civil, one of the winners of the empowering people. Award. The winning solution Videobooks in Sign Language enables deaf children access to literature and reading. The videos, created by Canales Asociación Civil, combine children’s books and young adult literature read in sign language, with voice-overs and animated illustration. This invites hearing-impaired children into the world of reading together with their families and friends thereby encouraging inclusion and education.

Silvana, you recently won a prize in the empowering people. Award. What does this mean to you?

The recognition we have received by Siemens Stiftung means a great deal to us. It has taken a year or so to develop these Videobooks and the prize illustrates that the effort has been worth it.

The reason we entered the Award, however, was not only the cash prize. Although we are delighted to have won 5,000 Euros, we are even more excited about joining the empowering people. Network. We took part in the first workshop prior to the Award Ceremony in Berlin and what an experience it was! Being in a room with so many innovative, social entrepreneurs was simply inspiring! We had workshop sessions on topics such as staff motivation, tools we need for our work and other challenges that we deal with every day. Not only that, we also had a real chance to talk to each other and this really benefitted me: I could talk about the issues my company has, gain valuable input from my peers and from the experts at Siemens Stiftung. Our founder, Silvana Veinberg, is actually an Ashoka fellow so she really values networking and sees the potential it has for our work. We are aware that these projects, our books are only possible when you share. The experience of others will help us to grow as well.

Silvana Bonnet (in the middle) discussing with other workshop participants

What will you actually be using the prize money for?

Well, we can use it to continue our work and to film more video books so we can reach even more people. We will never stop and we are now aiming to develop books for Uruguay and other countries in Latin America. As we have the rights for Spanish books, we will be able to use these rights to expand to other countries.

Let me ask you about yourself. Why did you get involved in the project?

I actually studied Communications and got involved with volunteering. I contacted deaf communities and quickly recognized how isolated they were because of the communication challenges they faced. I wanted to get involved with something that helps break these communication barriers down because I believe that communication leads to inclusion, and this helps society become more tolerant and enjoy diversity. Diversity is the key to a happy society and this is what we are proud of working towards.

VideolibrosVideobooks in Sign Language has been showcased in the empowering people. Network Solutions Database – explore the project here.

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