I would say that a visually impaired man who sees more than a man with an excellent sight is not blind. But a man who turns a blind eye to reality is the real blind.
The chance to visit special children in SPED (Quezon City) last March was something that should not be missed. I enjoyed it with one sister anyway.
In the middle of our conversation with the SPED Head Teacher (Evelyn), a girl with a smiling face entered the room and happily told her teacher, “Ma’am, I just came from the canteen. I bought some snacks.”
She took it out excitedly from the plastic container and showed what she got. She was Fatima, a smart ten-year old girl visually impaired and one of the special children who attended regular classes in SPED.
What I witnessed took me by surprise. How could a girl like Fatima capable of doing such thing? I should say Fatima is not disabled at all but amazingly unique in her own way!
She must be considered a normal school girl though with physical disorder. Fatima and other special children regardless of creed joined other students and attended regular classes in high school for free. As special children, at the end of their regular classes, they proceeded to one room where volunteer teachers were ready to tutor/assist them for few hours.
Amazing how teachers with tons of work can still volunteer and spare extra time for these children without being paid. With smiling faces, they patiently guided these special kids without becoming grumpy and annoyed.
The love in their hearts showed how they enjoyed doing extra work after their regular teaching schedules. I salute these teachers for their tasks require dedication and perseverance. If there was something to learn from these teachers, it was simply about compassion and tolerance.
Would you believe that there was another crying moment with the head teacher? The happiness Teacher Evelyn shared to us was a great fulfillment on her part as an educator. She was a real inspiration to others. No wonder she was awarded as an effectual partner in promoting programs and services for people with disabilities.
As Teacher Evelyn started to tell a wonderful story of one of her female students, tears rolled down her cheeks. Funny it seemed, but her tears were contagious that made us teary eyed. She was really proud as she told us the story of a visually impaired girl who graduated from their school, went to America without someone to accompany her and eventually got married.
The tears of joy Teacher Evelyn expressed was so obvious that she began to smile and felt relieved after she relayed the story.
The SPED students use braille as one of their resources. Braille is a form of written language for blind people, in which characters are represented by patterns of raised dots that are felt with the fingertips.
When Teacher Evelyn proudly instructed Fatima to read something to us, she opened her manual and started to read the words by feeling the dots using her fingertips. Then she also sang a song for us. In fact before we left, Fatima and Aaron, a visually impaired boy her age, wrote something to us about love, peace, and equality that you can read below.
As a Filipino I’ll put above the good of all with warm and love without conditions, I pledge to give to those with less so they can live. As a Filipino in harmony, I vow to live with my family. Brutality will not be used to settle fights, so avoid abuse. As a Filipino I recognize that we may be of different size, diverse beliefs, and colors too but we are all Filipino true.
Children like Fatima and Aaron should be regarded as normal kids. They may have physical disorders but they were not as brainless as they looked. They should be treated well and should not be left out or hidden in private.
For as long as there is life for them, they would always be hopeful. As long as they are treated like normal people they would always be joyful as they experienced love, peace, and equality.
Indeed, it gratified me to be in the company of some SPED schoolteachers and their students (our target beneficiaries). Anyone is welcome to extend his effort, time, resources, food, cash, etc. You can visit the place in Quezon City. –joywadi