“Family and community: the hope of people with disabilities”

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Tuesday, July 29, 2014


I CANNOT afford to let the month of July 2014 pass by without writing about the annual celebration of the National Disability Prevention and Rehabilitation (NDPR) Week. This has been a tradition since 1979 where private and non-government agencies create a higher level of awareness about persons with disabilities to help uplift and improve their lives. For 2014, the NDPR Week was celebrated on July 17-23 with the theme: “Talino at Paninindigan ng Taong May Kapansanan: Pasaporte sa Kaunlaran” and was spearheaded by the Department of Foreign Affairs. According to the National Council on Disability Affairs, this year’s NDPR week highlights the concrete contributions of some PWDs who won international and local awards in the arena of arts, photography and sports, as well as in the field of IT to serve as inspiration to all PWDs and their families.

In the local front, I asked one SPED teacher to write her thoughts about the NDPR week. I thank Teacher Cyrell Alingasa of ILLC Davao who shared her observations about the celebration of NDPR week in Davao City.

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The celebration of the 36th National Disability Prevention and Rehabilitation Week was a success. One of the activities set was the SAYAWITAN which was held at SM Annex on July 16, 2014. It was a celebration filled with joy, laughter, and a sense of togetherness for everyone. Schools and institutions had presentations and dance numbers that truly showcased the abilities of persons with special needs. Some did ethnic dances, hip-hop and community dancing. During the second half of the program, students performed duets and solo song performances which truly astounded the audience.

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The Independent Living Learning Centre (ILLC) Davao, together with other SPED schools in Davao City, actively participated in the NDPR Week by joining SAYAWITAN. The students, after days of practices, were able to give an all-out performance as they danced to the song “Timber”. They were received by the crowd with loud applauses and cheers which doubled their energies on stage. They all had fun and the audience enjoyed their dance number. The ILLC team went happy bagging the 5th place of the contest. To wrap up, we all had an amazing time mingling with other participants and cheering for their performances.

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The annual celebration of NDPR becomes the stage wherein collaboration and discussions take place among families, schools, private organizations and government institutions with concern for persons with disabilities. It serves as a showcase of the progress they have achieved as a product of collective efforts of the entire community and society. By celebrating NDPR, we all get a glimpse of how far all the educational programs and community involvement have helped them in progressing and moving forward in life. We see them filled with hope as they try to impress the world with their talents and abilities. We have to thank the families and the communities that have helped them grow and become who they are now. – by Cyrell Alingasa

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Jane Ann S. Gonzales is a mother of a youth with autism. She is an advocate/core member of the Autism Society Philippines and Directress of the Independent Living Learning Centre (ILLC) Davao, a centre for teenagers and adults with special needs. For comments or questions, please email janeanngonzales@yahoo.com).

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on July 30, 2014.

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