Twenty-five-year-old Jennifer Cañaveral completed her five-year architecture program at the University of Gran Colombia. Why is this so remarkable? Cañaveral is deaf and lip-read her way through university.
According to newspaper El Tiempo, the recent graduate became deaf as a result of a meningitis infection when she was 9 months old. Since then, she has communicated by reading lips and perceiving sounds through vibrations. Cañaveral said her mother taught her how to do this at the age of 2 so that she could communicate, and that she “owes her everything.” In order to understand what someone is saying Cañaveral must be looking directly at the person’s lips.
The architecture graduate said she struggled to find acceptance among her fellow students, who assumed she wouldn’t understand what they were saying. She always did her projects alone, because other students thought she couldn’t “start a conversation, much less work on any assignment or project.” For this reason, Cañaveral said she completed her architecture graduation project on her own.
Next, the architect hopes to study English and apply for post-graduate studies in Europe.
While an exact figure is unknown, it is estimated that there are about 20,000 deaf people in Colombia.