Fellow Since 1999
AAPPE (Associacão dos Amigos e Pais de Pessoas Especiais)
This profile was prepared when Iraê Cardoso was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 1999.
The New Idea
Iraê Cardoso understands that if people with impaired hearing are to escape isolation and illiteracy, they have to take control of their own destinies, including their rights as citizens. To this end, Iraê has created the Deafness Reference and Training Center. The organization's mission is to work with state governments to ensure on going state resources for training in sign language, teachers for the hearing impaired, leadership and job training skills for the hearing impaired, and public education (especially education of employers) about deaf culture. Iraê has already made Alagoas State the forefront of this issue in Brazil and neighboring states have begun replicating her idea. Iraê is using the Deafness Reference and Training Center to fight for full citizenship and human rights for deaf people at all levels, from the state to the home.