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Milagros Costabel

Montevideo, Uruguay
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About Milagros
Milagros Costabel is a visually impaired freelance journalist based in Uruguay.

In The Middle of A Pandemic, COVID-19 Information Remains Inaccessible to Visually Impaired People

Milei Inherits an Economically Devastated Argentina

20 Nov 2023  |  Foreign Policy
Javier Milei's victory in Argentina's presidential election marks a significant shift towards right-wing populism. He inherits a country grappling with severe economic challenges, including over 124 percent inflation and widespread poverty. The previous administration under Alberto Fernández exacerbated the crisis with high public spending and economic mismanagement. Experts highlight the long-term issues of public debt, inflation, and informal employment. Milei's radical economic proposals, such as eliminating the Central Bank, contrast sharply with his opponent Sergio Masa's approach. The new government faces tough fiscal decisions that could provoke social resistance in a historically unionized country.

I am a blind person and artificial intelligence helped me rediscover the world

21 Oct 2023  |  letraslibres.com
A blind individual shares their experience with Be My AI, a collaboration between Open AI and Be My Eyes, which provides detailed descriptions of photos through artificial intelligence. This technology has allowed them to capture and understand visual details of the world, from clothing colors to restaurant menus, enhancing their independence. While the app is currently in beta and only available on iOS, an Android version is expected. The author expresses concerns about potential errors, data privacy, and the possibility of the service being discontinued, but remains committed to exploring the visual world as long as the technology is available.

Accepted into Harvard with no private tutoring

01 Oct 2023  |  businessinsider.com
A student from Uruguay, without the financial means for tutors or consultants, was accepted into Harvard University. Through self-directed research and utilizing online resources, the student mastered the college application process, including the Common App and essay writing. Participation in online communities provided the necessary support. Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic and financial constraints, the student's hard work culminated in acceptance to Harvard, proving that determination and self-belief can overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles.

How A.I. Helped Me See the Faces of the People I Love for the First Time

01 Oct 2023  |  Yahoo Entertainment
The article discusses how the author, who is blind, has experienced a transformative change in their ability to perceive the world through the use of Be My AI, a collaboration between Open AI and Be My Eyes. This technology provides detailed descriptions of photos, allowing the author to understand visual content in ways previously unimaginable. The author reflects on the newfound independence and emotional impact of being able to visualize memories and daily life. While acknowledging the limitations and potential privacy concerns of AI, the author remains optimistic about the future advancements in accessibility technology.

Milagros, the blind young woman who learned English on her own and will study at Harvard

16 Jun 2021  |  eltiempo.com
Milagros Costabel, a blind young woman from Uruguay, has been accepted to study at Harvard University on a full scholarship. Despite being born prematurely and becoming blind due to oxygen treatment, Milagros learned English on her own and excelled academically. She faced challenges such as bullying and the loss of her sister Chloe to cancer but found joy and purpose in journalism, contributing to international media outlets. Her story is a testament to her determination and the support of her family and educators like Gerardo Menéndez, who helped her overcome barriers in her education.

The inspiring story of Milagros, the blind Uruguayan girl who learned English by herself and will study at Harvard at no cost

16 Jun 2021  |  www.elimparcial.com
Milagros Costabel, a blind Uruguayan girl who learned English by herself, has been accepted to study at Harvard University with a full scholarship. Born prematurely and blind, Milagros faced numerous challenges, including the loss of her sister Chloe to cancer and the struggle for educational inclusion in Uruguay. Her determination led her to excel academically and pursue her passion for journalism, contributing to international media outlets. Her story is a testament to her resilience and the support of her family and educators like Gerardo Menéndez, who helped her navigate her educational journey.

How Haben Girma Showed Me I Could Go To Harvard

20 Mar 2021  |  Well+Good
The author reflects on how Haben Girma, the first deafblind person to graduate from Harvard Law, inspired them to pursue their dreams despite their own disability. The author, who is totally blind, shares their journey of overcoming societal and educational barriers in Uruguay, and how Girma's achievements motivated them to advocate for disability rights and eventually earn a scholarship to Harvard. The author emphasizes the importance of role models and empowerment for people with disabilities.

Relief Across Latin America at Trump’s Loss

07 Nov 2020  |  Foreign Policy
Latin American politicians and activists are celebrating Joe Biden's victory, viewing it as a hopeful change from the Trump administration's neglect and malignity towards the region. Argentine President Alberto Fernández and Uruguayan President Luis Lacalle Pou expressed their congratulations and desire for cooperation. The election of Kamala Harris as vice president is hailed as an inspiring milestone. Despite the optimism, the U.S. faces challenges in repairing its image after years of racist language and cruelty towards Hispanic immigrants under Trump. Biden's unobstructed path to office could help restore the U.S.'s democratic leadership image.

Latin America Has Given Up on U.S. Democracy

03 Nov 2020  |  Foreign Policy
U.S. elections, once a model for democracy in Latin America, are now viewed with skepticism and concern. Latin American media, such as Argentina's Infobae and Uruguay's El Observador, report on potential unrest and political violence, drawing parallels to their own troubled elections. Trump's refusal to accept defeat and the unrest surrounding the elections have damaged the U.S.'s reputation as a democratic exemplar, leading Latin American democrats to distance themselves from the U.S. model.

The Peruvian Poor Can’t Breathe in the Pandemic

06 Oct 2020  |  foreignpolicy.com
Peru has been severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, with a high per capita infection and death rate. The crisis has exposed the country's deficient healthcare system and financial mismanagement by leadership. A lack of medical oxygen and corruption have exacerbated the situation, with rural and Indigenous populations being the hardest hit. Despite economic growth, public health investment remains low. The pandemic has highlighted the need for a stronger health system and better government policies, especially for marginalized communities.

Deaf children in learning limbo amid lack of transparent face masks

18 Sep 2020  |  euronews.com
Deaf children across Europe are facing educational challenges due to the requirement to wear masks in classrooms, which hinders their ability to lip read and see facial expressions. Activists and organizations advocate for the approval and adoption of transparent masks to alleviate communication barriers. However, no safe model has been approved in several European countries, leading to increased isolation and difficulties in education for deaf students. Representatives from the National Board of the Deaf in Italy, the German Federation of the Deaf, and the European Deaf Students' Union have expressed serious concerns and are calling for swift action to support the deaf community.

Without transparent masks, deaf children in educational limbo

17 Sep 2020  |  es.euronews.com
Deaf children across Europe are struggling with their education due to the mandatory use of traditional masks in classrooms, which hinder lip-reading and facial expression recognition. Activists and organizations advocate for the approval and use of transparent masks to facilitate better communication and inclusion. However, many European countries have yet to approve these masks, leaving deaf students at a significant disadvantage. The article highlights the urgent need for transparent masks to ensure that deaf children can continue their education effectively during the pandemic.

Argentina’s Economy Crumbles as Buenos Aires Lockdown Continues

27 Aug 2020  |  Foreign Policy
The article discusses the stringent measures Argentina took early on during the COVID-19 pandemic, including a strict quarantine that has had significant economic repercussions. The government's attempt to control the virus spread was only partially successful, and the economic impact is severe, with a sharp decline in GDP and wages, particularly affecting the most vulnerable sectors. Despite government efforts to prevent layoffs and provide aid, many small businesses and low-income individuals have been left without sufficient support. The article also compares Argentina's situation with other Latin American countries and highlights the long-term challenges the country faces, given its pre-pandemic economic difficulties. Experts warn that the consequences of the quarantine measures and the lack of adequate support for businesses and vulnerable populations will have lasting effects on the Argentine economy.

The author. Courtesy of Milagros Costabel

06 Aug 2020  |  HuffPost
The article is a personal account of Milagros Costabel, a person who has been blind since birth, discussing the challenges faced when navigating public spaces, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Costabel describes how the lack of acoustic traffic lights in Colonia, Uruguay, and the absence of state support for the visually impaired make daily tasks like crossing the street difficult. The article highlights issues of personal space and consent, as strangers often offer help without asking, sometimes leading to uncomfortable or risky situations. Costabel emphasizes the importance of respecting the autonomy and decision-making abilities of people with disabilities, a need that has become more pronounced during the pandemic due to the risks of physical contact and the spread of the virus. The narrative advocates for the rights of people with disabilities to control their bodies and decisions, and for society to recognize their humanity beyond their disabilities.

I'm A Blind Woman. Here's How COVID-19 Has Changed The Way I Ask For Help.

05 Aug 2020  |  HuffPost
The article discusses the challenges faced by Mariana Alvez, a blind woman, during the COVID-19 pandemic in Colonia, Uruguay. It highlights her struggles with personal space and unsolicited help from strangers, which have been exacerbated by the pandemic's social distancing measures. Mariana shares her journey towards asserting her independence and the importance of respecting the autonomy and health of people with disabilities.

Uruguay Emerges as a Rare Pandemic Winner in Latin America

21 Jul 2020  |  Foreign Policy
Uruguay, a small nation bordering Brazil, has been successful in managing the COVID-19 pandemic with a total of 1,054 confirmed cases and 33 deaths as of July 20. Unlike its neighbors, Argentina and Brazil, which have been severely affected, Uruguay has implemented a strategy that includes extensive testing, effective contact tracing, and reliance on scientific advice without enforcing a compulsory quarantine. The government's approach has received high public approval, and the country's existing health infrastructure and social programs have been instrumental in its pandemic response. However, the tourism sector has suffered significantly, and the opposition criticizes the government for not providing enough economic support. Uruguay's collaboration with Brazil on testing and its overall pandemic management may position it as a diplomatic leader in the region post-pandemic.

I'm A Blind Woman. Here's How COVID-19 Has Changed The Way I Ask For Help.

01 Jul 2020  |  sg.news.yahoo.com
The author, a blind woman from Colonia, Uruguay, shares her experiences and challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic. She highlights the difficulties of navigating public spaces without acoustic traffic lights and the intrusive, often unhelpful assistance from strangers. The pandemic has exacerbated these issues, making personal space and health safety more critical. The author emphasizes the need for respect and autonomy for people with disabilities, advocating for their right to make decisions about their own bodies and interactions.

I’m Visually Impaired. I Don’t Want Things to Go Back to Normal.

28 May 2020  |  ZORA
Milagros Costabel, a visually impaired individual, discusses the positive changes brought about by the pandemic, particularly in terms of accessibility and remote work. The author highlights how digital menus in restaurants, enabled by QR codes, have allowed for greater independence by being compatible with screen readers. The article also touches on the broader implications of remote work, which has been beneficial for people with disabilities who face challenges in traditional work environments. Costabel expresses concern that these inclusive adaptations may be rolled back as the world returns to 'normal' and emphasizes the need for society to retain these changes to support individuals with disabilities.

The 7 best audio games

21 Apr 2020  |  Rock Paper Shotgun
Audio games, designed primarily for the visually impaired community, offer immersive experiences through sound. This article highlights seven notable audio games across various genres, including 'Undead Assault,' 'Crazy Party,' 'Eurofly,' 'Paladin Of The Sky,' 'Top Speed,' 'Survive The Wild,' and 'Manamon.' These games range from zombie survival and adventure mini-games to realistic flight simulations and RPGs, showcasing the diversity and potential of audio gaming. The article emphasizes the accessibility and enjoyment these games can provide to all players, regardless of visual ability.

The Importance of Audio Description in Film and Why We Need to See More Of It

09 Mar 2020  |  Yeahflix
The article emphasizes the importance of audio description in films for visually impaired individuals, highlighting how it enables them to enjoy movies and series on par with sighted peers. It praises Netflix for its inclusive approach but criticizes the broader film industry for not offering enough titles with audio description. The text calls for public advocacy to make accessibility a more prominent issue in the media and film industry.

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