“After the rain, the sun will shine.”
was born a healthy baby girl in July 1984, except that both
of my legs were amputated at the knees. Despite my disability
though, my family and relatives never treated me differently.
They love and support me and treat me like a normal person.
Even at an early age, I knew that my disability should
not hinder me from pursuing my dreams. I wanted to finish
my studies because I know that education is very important
if I want to succeed in life. It was very difficult, not
only because of my physical limitations but also what other
people say about, and their attitude towards, me. They laughed
at me and mocked me because of my physical deformities.
There were times that I did not want to be seen by other
people; I became very shy, and maybe there was even a time
that I became ashamed of myself. I remember one person asking
me why I want to go to school even in my condition (referring
to my disability).
But I knew in my heart the real reason why: I wanted to
overcome my difficulties and prove to the world that people
like me can live a normal life, and that we can also be
as successful as ‘normal’ people can be.
Today, my hard work and perseverance is finally paying
off: I finished college with a Bachelor of Science degree
in Computer Science. On the special day of my graduation,
I went up the stage using my artificial legs to receive
my diploma. For the first time, I was literally standing
tall and proud of myself and what I have accomplished. Despite
my family’s difficulties, and my own, I never doubted
that I can do it.
After all, I firmly believe that ‘after the rain,
the sun will shine.’ ”
Handicap International – Philippines, during the
Hilwai mobile rehabilitation boat’s campaign in Antique,
provided Diana with prostheses. Diana can now move around
freely with her new legs.
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Hope Dawns in a Child’s Heart
name is Perdita and I am 12 years old. I live in a very
small island in Mindanao --- so small that it’s impossible
to locate it on the map.
I lost my left leg when I was six years old in a jeepney
accident. It was very painful. I could not stay long in
school. Our neighbors helped my father make crutches for
me. With the crutches, I was able to continue going to school.
But it was difficult…oftentimes, I do not have the
strength to go very far from our house.
Availing of rehabilitation for my condition would mean
going to the town proper of the biggest island near ours,
which is only accessible by boat. It took my father, who
is a fisherman, six years to save up enough money to go
to Cagayan de Oro City to see if the doctors there can do
something to improve my condition.
When the day finally came that my mother and I are leaving
for Cagayan de Oro, I was so excited to travel by boat for
the first time! Everyone at home was happy and full of hope
My excitement was short-lived though, for when we arrived
in the city we were advised to go to Manila because the
doctors said I would need prosthesis. My mother and I knew
that would be impossible. Manila is just too far and going
there is expensive. We felt let-down and desperate.
And then, fortunately, somebody informed us that there
is a rehabilitation center in the city with a technician
trained to make legs. Hope surged in my heart! We went to
the rehabilitation center and Elmer, the technician, welcomed
us. Everywhere in the workshop, there were people doing
physical exercises, movements, trying their new leg or wheel
chair. We stayed in the city for few weeks and you will
not believe it, I went back home with a new leg!”
Handicap International – Philippines put up orthopedic
and prosthetic workshops and rehabilitation centers when
it first came in the country in 1988. Today, the workshops
are autonomous and provide orthopedic and rehabilitation
services in their respective areas. A network of orthopedic
non-government organisations (NGOs) was also established
throughout the country to improve the access of persons
with disabilities to such services.
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Rising Above the Terror of War
was born to a poor family of farmers in the small village
of Minabay in the province of Maguindanao in Mindanao. When
the Philippine government declared war against the secessionist
group Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in year 2000,
the usually peaceful village of Minabay was transformed
into a battle field. Immediately, the village population
evacuated to find refuge from the bombs. Unfortunately,
Cameda was hit when the remains of a shell exploded a few
meters from her when she was trying to escape.
Because of the ceaseless combat between the army and the
MILF, Cameda was brought to the hospital only after several
days have passed. She was hospitalized for a month and her
left leg had to be amputated. Cameda fell into shock and
depression after getting out of the hospital. She refused
to eat and eventually lost a lot of weight and she became
One of Handicap International – Philippines’
volunteer found Cameda in this state and he urged her to
go to the Orthopedic and Prosthetic Workshop and Rehabilitation
Center in Cotabato City. Cameda refused at first, but through
the patience and persistence of HI’s volunteer, she
was finally persuaded to go to the rehabilitation center.
At the rehabilitation center in Cotabato City, Cameda was
fitted with prosthesis. While she was adjusting to her new
and improved physical condition, Cameda was still beset
by depression. Because of what happened to her, Cameda also
found it hard to trust other people – one of the impacts
of seeing her village being ravaged by unknown people. It
was really a great challenge for the HI – Philippines’
team, but they persevered and organized plays and activities
so Cameda and the other patients in the rehabilitation center
will learn to live to the fullest again.
When Cameda finally left the rehabilitation center, one
could see the new spark in her eyes and occasionally, a
smile. Through the efforts of HI’s team, Cameda saw
and knew that there is still kindness in the world –
people who are willing to help others live better lives
and give them encouragement and hope.#
Handicap International – Philippines implements Community-Based
Rehabilitation (CBR) projects particularly in conflict-affected
areas in Mindanao. Social and community health workers are
being trained to identify persons with disabilities in refugee
camps and refer them to existing services.
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A Hope for Jessie
Noja, a 15-year old boy with Muscular Dystrophy, is just
one of the many differently-abled persons in San Francisco,
Agusan del Sur in Mindanao. Jessie comes from a poor family
that is dependent on rice farming. He is the fifth child
of seven siblings. Despite their poverty, Jessie is given
utmost care and support by his parents and is sent to school.
He is one of the academic achievers of Lapinigan National
High School in San Francisco. Their residence is very far
from the school where he is studying now and much farther
from the town proper of San Francisco. He has to stay with
his relatives with his mother personally attending to his
While others see his disability as a dead end, Jessie sees
it as a great challenge for him to move forward, aim high
and prove how wrong the people are. He is full of courage,
hope, determination and positive outlook in life. His physical
impairment never deterred him from pursuing his studies
and aspiring for a better future.
“It is not easy to brave all of life’s adversities,
especially if you are a disabled person. It is even more
painful when people put you down, when you are ridiculed
because of disabilities, and when people look at you as
hopeless and simply a liability in the community,”
Jessie was using a standard wheelchair before but the device
never fitted his disability. It was too heavy and too big
for his size. Materials and resources are not available
in the locality. Everyday he went to school with much difficulty.
The road is rough, uneven, and it gets muddy when it rains.
His mother prefers to carry Jessie rather than let him use
the standard wheelchair which only became an additional
burden. Jessie wanted to have a new wheelchair which he
could use without deteriorating his physical condition and
could manage well with the kind of terrain that they have.
Jessie is one of the first eight people in San Francisco
who received custom-fit wheelchairs from the Wheelchairs
for Mindanao project of Handicap International and Loving
Presence Foundation. He is quite happy and proud of his
status as of now – regularly going to school on his
own and socializing with his peers. He is grateful for the
support given him. He looks forward to the time someday
that he will be able to help his parents and other people.
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"Hiding Is Not A Way To
Kusap was five years old when she was hit by a car while
crossing Villaron Street in Cotabato City. She was on her
way to where her mother, Soraida Kusap, was selling vegetables
and spices at the local market. Abandoned by her father
and being the eldest in a brood of three, Faujia started
helping out her mother earn a living for the family at a
young age. The Kusap family lives in Barangay Tukananes
in Cotabato City.
The accident caused Faujia to lose her left leg, which
was amputated above the knee. Moreover, her mother decided
to confine her at home and attend to the daily household
chores while Faujia’s two younger siblings went to
school. Mrs. Kusap thought that Faujia cannot anymore be
useful for things other than doing house chores so she delegated
these tasks to Faujia. Finding means for the family to survive
became the sole responsibility of Faujia’s mother.
In September 2004, Basit Talusob, a trained Handicap International
(HI) volunteer, met then fourteen-year-old Faujia in the
market while assisting her mother in selling one day. He
encouraged Mrs. Kusap to bring her daughter to the HI office
in the city for advice and possible assistance.
Basit accompanied Mrs. Kusap and Faujia, who was then using
unfitted and worn-out wooden crutches, to the HI office
where both were interviewed and assessed by a physical therapist
and a technician. Upon assessment, it was found out that
Faujia needed more improvement on her muscle strength to
prepare her for prosthesis use. She was then advised a home
management program to strengthen both of her legs. Her range
of motion was normal so she was also recommended for casting.
During HI staff’s home visits, Faujia confided that
she was feeling jealous of her brother & sister who
were studying. “My mother is biased towards my siblings.
I want to attend school to learn like other kids but she
always refused”, Faujia said. She’s fond of
singing but does not know how to read; she just memorizes
the lyrics by listening. The HI staff decided to talk to
Mrs. Kusap and had counseling for her to agree with her
daughter’s ambition. “The problem is that I
cannot afford to send them all in school and no one would
take care of our house while I am at the market until late
in the afternoon”, according to Mrs. Kusap.
The HI staff accompanied Faujia at the local elementary
school and endorsed her to the school principal. She took
the admission test and fortunately got accepted. She is
presently enrolled in first grade at the Vilo Elementary
School, where she attends classes from 7:00-11:30 in the
morning. A good-hearted teacher observed that Faujia was
a jolly child and was very eager to learn. She told the
HI staff that her brother, who had a stroke, had a pair
of unused aluminum crutches. She gave the crutches to Faujia
as mobility device while waiting for her prosthesis.
her above-knee prosthesis was made for initial fitting,
she had undergone gait training and now uses the mobility
device in attending classes.
Faujia was very thankful and overcome by emotion when she
said, “Masela ged I nakad tabang na Handicap Int’l
sa laki, mas mapiya I gagedam ko sa bago a elay ko taman
sa kinambago na pagitong ni ina a aden bun besen magaga
ko enggula endu katagan sya sa dunya. Mangagi ako sa mapiya
para makadtabang ako bun sa pamilya ko endu sa kaped a sadil.”
[“Handicap International helped me a lot. I feel more
comfortable now that I can use my new leg (prosthesis) and
confident in dealing with others. The impression of my mother
towards my strengths & importance eventually changed.
I would study hard to finish school and let other disabled
persons know that hiding is not a way to live.”]
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