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CEU supports students with disabilities

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The CEU Support for Students with Disabilities Program was created to promote the integration of these students in CEU Universities and to help them with their university studies and subsequent employment. Within the framework of this program CEU San Pablo University has organised a meeting with Javier García Pajares, the first deaf-blind Erasmus student in Europe, who told his story sharing personal and professional achievements.

This Program is based on a principle of normalisation, whereby people have equal opportunities,  with access to the same places, environments, goods and services that are at everyone’s disposal, as well as equal access to all the resources the University offers.

García Pajares is a specialist in Data Protection in the Legal Department at ILUNION. He cannot see or hear, but thanks to the facilities provided by ILUNION he has fulfilled his dream of working independently. “At ILUNION they saw an opportunity to make this a challenge and an example to everyone. I wanted to work independently in the future and thanks to them and working with a braille computer, I have achieved it. Doors shouldn’t be closed because of a disability”, he stated.

At the age of 15, he had to face up to the loss of his hearing and vision and from then on his life has been a journey of self-improvement, making him the person he is today. As a teenager he suffered social isolation and bullying which plunged him into depression, so he contacted ONCE. He discovered rock-climbing and it motivated him to rethink his future: “I learnt that in life I could get as far as I wanted to. Anything can be achieved if you put in the effort. We have to follow our passion.”

This young man communicates through sign language and braille. This is thanks to the same tenacity and effort that led him to study a double degree in Law and Business Administration and Management at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid and to overcome sports challenges in climbing.


Work and sport go hand in hand

García Pajares currently combines his work at ILUNION and several social projects with sport. He is the first deaf-blind person to reach the top of the Mulhacén mountain and has reached the Almanzor and the seven summits of the Alps above 4000 metres, alongside his partners for the project ‘A world with meaning’. “The mountain is a way of life, it sets you a goal, and you enjoy the entire journey and experience. I experienced my colleagues’ emotions as they described the surroundings to me”, he explained.

Throughout his personal and professional career, he has achieved several accomplishments and received numerous awards. As a result of his activism, the European Commission adopted a code of conduct against the discrimination of disabled passengers on flights. 

The managing director of ILUNION, Alejandro Oñoro Medrano also participated in this encounter and shared ILUNION’s mission. This was born 8 years ago as a new socially and economically stable model, which helped transform the group’s brands. During his speech he stressed that “our objective is to build a better world in which everyone is included. Transforming yourself is not an option, it is an obligation in which excellence must be the path towards a more sustainable world, better than the one we live in now”.

He also expressed that people are at the centre of what they do, “We are a group of people for people”. ILUNION currently employs 15.000 people with disabilities. He stated that “Our leadership is based on respect, empathy, humility and professionalism; we want to build a different way of doing business, creating quality employment for these people”.

To conclude, Oñoro highlighted that they want to be an example to other businesses and to become the best place for people to work. “We want to create employment for people who are at risk of exclusion, immigrants, victims of gender-based violence, etc. We want to be a positive point of  reference in the business world with strategic alliances such as the one we have with CEU: to value the ability of those with disabilities”.

The Vice-Rector for Students and University Life, Ángel Bartolomé, opened the event and emphasised CEU's involvement with all students, so that they can study and experience university life according to their needs, helping those who need it most. "We put up our own barriers and we have to overcome them," he stated.

The event was closed by the advisor to the managing director for Employability and Businesses, Rodrigo Martín Velayos. He underlined the University's responsibility towards and awareness of these issues and concluded: "We are not responsible for the cards we are given, but we are responsible for how we play with them".

Agreement with ILUNION

This event is part of the recent agreement signed between CEU Universities and the ILUNION Group, which comprises a general framework of collaboration to promote equal opportunities so that people with disabilities have access to education and comprehensive training, in addition to improving professional inclusion, accessibility and socially responsible purchasing.

Palabras clave Disability ILUNION Inserción Equality Commitment
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