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"When failure is combined with learning, it becomes success".

More than 780 people attend a lecture by Alex Roca, athlete with disabilities, at the University of Chile

/Alex Roca, physically disabled athlete who inaugurated the cycle Training to understand disability at the University of Navarra.

05 | 02 | 2024

"I have overcome the bad moments of my life by learning, because when failure is added to learning, this is transformed into success". Álex Roca, an athlete with a physical disability of 76% and cerebral palsy, was the first speaker of "Training to understand disability", a cycle that Tantaka, the Solidarity Time Bank of the University of Navarra, organizes annually to raise awareness about disability and promote inclusion

More than 780 people, mostly university students, attended the opening of the 11th edition, which was presided over by Rosalía Baena, Vice President for Students. As she recalled in her speech, this initiative, which is part of the "Education Transforming" axis of the Strategy 2025 of the University of Navarra, "is a commitment to continue to deepen the social reality of disability, often misunderstood, but which has much to contribute". Marta Olaizola, delegate of students of the University, and Luis Casado, journalist, founder and president of the Iddeas Foundation, collaborating entity of the cycle, have been in charge of presenting the event.

From left to right, Alex Roca, his wife and interpreter, Mari Carmen Maza, the University's student delegate, Marta Olaizola and Luis Casado, journalist, founder and president of the Iddeas Foundation. 

Accompanied by his wife and interpreter, Mari Carmen Maza, Álex Roca shared with the audience the main milestones of his life staff and his professional career, always marked by the maxim "You set your own limits": "That's my motto, because I believe that no one can tell us that we are not capable of doing something. I am aware that I have limitations, yes, but I don't set limits for myself. In life not everything is easy, if everything was stable we would not value it, so, in the face of difficulties, we have to go down, learn, go up, and thus become stronger". She also explained that this leitmotiv has made her discover that "to achieve our dreams, attitude, environment and above all, family are essential". 

Who is the only Nike athlete with cerebral palsy and the first in the world with a 76% physical disability in fill in a marathon, also told how he has spent a lifetime dismantling prejudices. In this sense, he encouraged the attendees to go further in getting to know people with disabilities and to trust in their abilities, in order to achieve true inclusion. "Society wants to limit us, but we are here to change it," he said. Despite the barriers he has encountered, he assures that his paralysis gave him a different life that he has tried to take advantage of: "My disability has been an opportunity to have the values I have, to be who I am today and to be able to transform society little by little".

The cycle will continue next Monday, February 12 with a session to raise awareness of the special vulnerability suffered by women with disabilities. The speakers will be Marina de Diego, Equality Technician of COCEMFE Navarra; Marga Gutiérrez, documentary director of AMA-DAS; and Emma Larreta, director of project Invisibles.

Enrique García Cortés, expert in technological accessibility of the ONCE Foundation, will be the speaker on Monday 19, and will talk about inclusive digital leisure and digital accessibility applied to video games. The series, which has the sponsorship of Campus Home and the partnership of Caja Rural de Navarra, will end on Monday 26 with a discussion paper and showcooking to position of Angel Palacios, chef with visual impairment and promoter of the association "Cooking blind". All sessions will be subtitled and interpreted live in language , thanks to the partnership of association Eunate.