Breaking Barriers: The Inspirational Journey of Susana Stiglich

Breaking Barriers: The Inspirational Journey of Susana Stiglich
Photo Courtesy: Susana Stiglich

By: Simon Harlow

In a world where communication is often taken for granted, Susana Stiglich stands tall as a beacon of empowerment and advocacy for the deaf community. Hailing from Miraflores, Lima, Susana’s remarkable journey is one of resilience, determination, and unwavering commitment to championing the rights of deaf individuals worldwide.

Susana’s life took an unexpected turn at the tender age of one and a half when she became deaf due to meningitis. However, this setback only fueled her determination to defy the odds and carve out her path in a world dominated by sound. Through rigorous therapies and sheer perseverance, she  was able to learn to lip read and speak, navigating the hearing world with grace and tenacity.

Her thirst for knowledge and passion for breaking barriers led her to Gallaudet University in the United States, where she immersed herself in American Sign Language (ASL). This pivotal experience not only deepened her understanding of deaf culture but also instilled in her a profound appreciation for the diversity of human communication.

Today, Susana is a polyglot of sign languages, fluent in Peruvian Sign Language, American Sign Language, and International Sign. For her, sign languages are not just modes of communication; they are bridges that connect worlds, transcending linguistic and cultural boundaries.

As the president of the Fundación Personas Sordas del Perú and the Sign Language Rights Officer at the World Federation of the Deaf, Susana has dedicated her life to advocating for the rights of deaf individuals. Her expertise in human rights advocacy and capacity building has earned her accolades and recognition from various governmental and non-governmental organizations.

But Susana’s impact extends far beyond her professional roles. Her personal journey of resilience and cultural immersion has equipped her with a unique perspective that enriches her interactions and fosters understanding among diverse communities. As the daughter of a career diplomat, she spent her formative years in different countries, cultivating empathy, tolerance, and a deep appreciation for cultural diversity.

In 2007, Susana spearheaded a groundbreaking advocacy campaign that resulted in the recognition of Peruvian Sign Language as an official language in 2010. This landmark achievement was a catalyst for transformative change within the deaf community, paving the way for greater inclusivity and accessibility in Peru.

One of Susana’s recent accomplishments includes the publication of the “Guidelines for Sign Language Rights – a WFD Advocacy Toolkit,” a comprehensive resource that empowers deaf communities worldwide to advocate for their rights effectively.

Beyond her professional endeavors, Susana is a relentless advocate for social justice and equality. Her tireless efforts have earned her accolades from the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights, the Peruvian Congress, and multiple municipalities.

As she continues to champion the rights of deaf individuals, Susana remains unwavering in her commitment to creating a more inclusive and equitable society for all. Through her leadership, advocacy, and boundless determination, she serves as an inspiration to countless individuals, proving that with perseverance and passion, anything is possible.

For those seeking to follow Susana’s journey and join her cause, she can be found on social media platforms under the handle @sustiwa, where she shares insights, updates, and resources on sign language rights and disability advocacy.


Published By: Aize Perez


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