logo III International Congress of University and Disability

Victor Hugo Silva

Victor Hugo Silva

I was born on 19 September 1994 and I live in a commune called Melipilla, to the West of Santiago, the capital of Chile. My family consists of my mother, my father, my younger sister and myself.

I’ve loved playing football since I was a child, and when I was 10 I got the chance to play in Uruguay. At 14 I was invited to play professionally there, and I lived with a Uruguayan family who took me in for a year. As time went by I started noticing it was more difficult for me to play at night as I found it harder to focus on the ball, and my performance started getting worse and worse. After the 2010 earthquake in Chile I went back to my home country and took up my studies again, although I carried on playing football. But then I had an accident and I was taken to hospital unconscious. At the hospital they discovered that I had a disorder called Retinitis Pigmentosa, which means I’ve been gradually going blind over time.

It was hard to accept this disease but it didn’t take me long, as I had many goals in life and an illness wasn’t going to stop me from achieving them.

I’m now in the fourth year of a Psychology Degree at the Catholic University of Silva Henríquez (UCSH). I also work as an assistant on an inclusion programme for people with disabilities at my University, I give motivational talks, I monitor sports workshops for blind footballers in my home commune, I’m a founder of the Olimpia Sports Club Association for disabled people and I coordinate the UCSH Board of Students with Disabilities.

By creating this Students’ Board, our aim is to help the disabled students themselves to network so that they can breach gaps and solve critical issues that are stopping them from getting the most out of their university life. We want to promote equal conditions and opportunities for disabled students both inside and outside the academic environment, reinforce the leadership of students with disabilities in the student community and in our country as a whole, generate strategies to raise Chileans’ awareness of disability, and without a doubt the main areas where we need to work and generate change are in reinforcement of universal accessibility, universal design, intersectorality, independent living and participation and social dialogue for disabled students in higher education, and we want this to be a real, specific, stable and balanced change.

“Real social change is based on changing personal subjectivity. Observe, reflect and act: for society to improve, you have to change.”