This 12-year-old boy loves to cook.
For now, all his utensils and ingredients are made of plastic. Soon, however, he could be whipping up real food.
He is Cessar Jr., named after his father.
The young boy wears eyeglasses supported by strings, making sure they don’t fall off whenever he bends over to cook.
When he’s not playing in his mini kitchen, Cessar Jr. loves to hang out with his two siblings.
“He’s energetic and can be naughty too,” Sheila, Cessar Jr.’s older sister, said in Filipino.
The two are close, with Sheila assisting her brother whenever he takes his afternoon stroll.
"I wish he could someday walk properly, by himself," she added.
Cessar Jr. has Cerebral Palsy.
Children with disability
Cerebral Palsy is considered a neurological disorder caused by non-progressive brain malformation or injury that occurs during a child’s brain development period.
This is why Cessar Jr. has difficulties with body movement and muscle coordination.
This, however, doesn’t make him less of a boy.
It doesn’t make him less of a learner. In fact, Cessar Jr. is in school.
Not all Filipino children with disability, however, have access to education like Cessar Jr.
As of 2010, there were 375,952 recorded school-age children with disabilities in the Philippines, the National Census showed.
But only 1 in every 3 of these children is in school.
Cessar Jr. is part of Save the Children’s KASALI project, which provides inclusive education to children with disability.
We believe that all children have the right to learn, free from discrimination and abuse.
“All the differences we have – may it be in ability, disability, culture, race, religion, gender – are just basically parts of human diversity,” said Kim Agravante, KASALI’s Project Officer.
“And we should learn to accept and appreciate our differences,” Kim continued. “Because from this, we learn better, we live better, and we learn to work together as a community.
Aside from providing education and therapy opportunities, KASALI also trains families on proper childcare and the rights of children with disability.
Every child deserves love, care, and support – which should all begin at home.
“When there are children who are not used to my son’s situation, I talk to them,” explained Cessar Jr.’s father.
“Some children run away from my son,” he continued. “I tell them not to be scared of Cessar Jr.”
“I advise parents who have children with disability to never be ashamed of their kids.”
Help us reach more children like Cessar Jr. Support our KASALI project and inclusive education programs.
Give children the gift of learning today, secure their tomorrow!