MARÍA JESÚS VARELA MÉNDEZ

MARÍA JESÚS VARELA MÉNDEZ

Since January 2015, Mª Jesús Varela has been the General Director of ONCE Foundation for Latin America (FOAL) which expands the solidarity to the people with visual impairment in South America. Since then, she has also been a member of the Council and Executive Committee of the Latin American Blind Union.

She graduated in Business Studies at the University of Santiago de Compostela and obtained a Master’s degree in Marketing and Commercial Management at ESIC (Marketing Business School of Madrid).

Furthermore, she occupied different positions within CIDAT, the Centre of Research, Development and Implementation of Technical Appliances of the ONCE Foundation, where she had also been in charge from May 2007 to January 2015, the date when she accepted the directive position at FOAL.

In addition, from 2011 to 2014, she coordinated the Subcommittee of Accessibility to New Technologies of the ONCE, and since 2011 she has been President of the Commission for Access to Information and Technology of the European Blind Union, which aims to improve normative and legal acts that regulate the conditions of access to technology of people with visual impairment. She was also a member of the Accessibility Working Group of ANEC (European Association for the Coordination of Consumer Representation in Standardisation), WHICH unites experts from both the consumer movement and organisations representing persons with disabilities with the purpose of promoting “Design for All” as one of the principal consumer’s rights.