I also remember that day I got on my parents’ car, holding a couple of suitcases that were heavier than my fears. I was 17 years old and, even though I had taken the decision to give it a try a few months back, I still couldn’t imagine where those steps were going to take me.

I dropped high school when I was 15 years old due to my blind and deaf condition. Inside my mind I built a different world to the one I couldn’t see or hear anymore. And now, two years later, it was time to retake my studies in Madrid, far away from my home, and break that bubble that offered both protection and confinement. This is how I learnt Braille and tactile signing, and soon I found myself learning from my impairment and from that of my colleagues and teachers at the learning resource centre ‘Antonio Vicente Mosquete.’ It was a hard year, during which I started to believe in a world that made sense.

Today, when I open the door to my new home in Madrid, when I realise how independent I can be, I take a few minutes to look back. I can see that 17-year old boy. I see that he is lonely, fearful, within the walls of some library, putting so much effort in learning and trying his best. And then I know better than ever before that the distance between defeat and success is short: we all have fears, but only those who decide to move forward with them will make it.

The picture above shows teenager Javi, full of uncertainty and sadness to leave his home, arriving at the ONCE school with his luggage.


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