Empowering Deaf Women: Health and Motherhood
If you were a pregnant woman or a new mother, and most of the information about women's health, motherhood, and raising children was inaccessible to you, would you be the best mother you could? The answer is clearly no - while there are of course many things that are natural to women as mothers, most of us need to be informed about many different things. It is important to learn about behaviors to avoid in pregnancy, or how to spot common childhood diseases, or what age is appropriate for starting certain foods. In Argentina, there were previously no materials available for deaf women about these issues. One of my favorite projects in Canales aimed to remedy this problem, by providing materials such as videos in sign language, and workshops to deaf women, about women's health and motherhood.
Canales developed two specific videos on this topic, "La familia en tus manos" (Your Family in Your Hands) and "Cuidarte está en tus manos" (Taking Care of your Health is in Your Hands.) The first video was directed towards deaf mothers and taught a variety of topics on pregnancy, women's health, childcare and family relations. The second video was specifically directed to protection from HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases. We also carried out a series of capacity building activities to accompany the videos and to train deaf women to give workshops in their own communities.
Currently we are hoping to update these materials and provide a new generation of deaf women with the tools they need to be empowered as women, as mothers, and as strong community leaders. We want to accompany the videos with workshops online, webcast seminars, Facebook groups and blogs where the participants can share their experiences and continuously access new information.