In celebration of National Children’s Month, children with disabilities showcased their abilities in one of Save the Children Philippines’ online events conducted last November via Zoom. The activity was facilitated by project “Strengthening the Capacity of Organizations of Persons with Disabilities and Other Civil Society Organizations Towards Effective Civil Society-Local Government Engagement and Improved Government Accountability for Persons with Disabilities, Especially Children in the Cities of Parañaque and Taguig, and Municipality of Pateros” or SCOPE funded by the European Union which seeks to empower children with disabilities from the cities of Paranaque and Taguig, and municipality of Pateros to claim their rights and become leaders in their communities.
The event entitled “Teka, Kami Muna” began with a fun dance session with Special Olympics Pilipinas and was followed by various activities aimed to raise awareness on the rights of children with disabilities, and their abilities to be able to take part in their communities. It was attended by 78 children with disabilities, 8 youth with disabilities, their parents, and representatives from local government units and civil society organization (CSOs) partners.
As part of the training of the children with disability groups organized by Save the Children, children from Pateros, Parañaque, and Taguig made videos presenting their dream communities and what they can do to achieve their dream. All the children shared their dream of a peaceful, healthy, and safe environment where no one is hungry and where everyone can go to school and play happily outside with their friends. The children presented ways how they can help achieve this – by not littering, planting trees, helping others, learning to work together, and by getting vaccinated against COVID-19.
Youth leaders with disabilities also shared inspirational messages to the children and families who attended the activity including the various challenges they faced growing up and the importance of not giving up.
Save the Children’s Bata Muna Campaign was also highlighted in the program. Jake, 13 years old with visual impairment said that his ideal leader is someone who is respectful and gets the work done. Nikka, 15 years old with speech impairment said that she hopes her mom and dad would vote for wise leaders for the sake of the children.
Save the Children also invited local civil society organization, Future Vision who introduced the participants to Braille. The Deaf and Blind Foundation, together with DeafEd Sign Language and Assessment Center taught the children a song in Filipino Sign Language. Together with Save the Children Philippines through the project Building Resources and Networks for the Inclusion of Children with Disabilities in Marginalized Urban Communities or BRDIGE funded by Ingeborg Déner-Muhr Stiftung, the activity also aimed to help raise awareness on various ways persons with disability can communicate – a step towards an inclusive society.
The successful event was presented together with ANSA, Life Haven, NOVEL, Taguig City Federation of Persons with Disability, Paranaque Federation of Persons with Disability, Asosyasyon ng mga Taong May Kapansanan sa Pateros, Proud Parents of Paranaque, with the support of the Las Pinas Persons with Disability Federation, Special Olympics Pilipinas, Deaf and Blind Foundation, DeafEd Training and Assessment Center, Full Life School for the Deaf and Future Vision Sight Blind. The activity was also made possible in cooperation with the local government units of Pateros, Paranaque and Taguig.