A Call to Love Inclusively
Inclusion, which means to be included, an act of making someone a part of a group, no matter what differences one may have. A single word that can hugely create an impact to this world, only if every people would know that no one should be excluded nor judged. Not even persons with disabilities. After all, all humans live in a share world that shares love to one another.
Hence, as one wants to be loved, people with disability especially those with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) also longs to be loved, and more than just love but to be loved inclusively. For to love inclusively means to love beyond boundaries, limitations and differences.
And as these people received an inclusive love from the society, they can become priceless treasure, they will be able to reach their full potential and can hugely become a great asset to mankind.
And this has been proven by Vico Cham, Juno Santos, Samantha Kaspar and Henry Munnariz: exceptional individuals with special needs who can exceeds everyone’s expectations and beliefs about ASD disorder.
Naming the Exceptionals
To begin with the numerous records of people with ASD who has excellent talents and abilities,one wouldn’t fail to notice Vico Cham, a brilliant individual with ASD, who has a full-time job, and is also a prolific painter. Actually, his paintings have been sold locally and abroad.
Samantha Kaspar, a violinist and a painter who has received international awards for some of her artistic works. She also has a line of scents that she co-developed with a Californian based company named Tea Notes Parfums USA.
Juno Santos, a 16-year-old painter and an amazing pianist with an affinity for jazz music. And Henry Munnariz, a talented athlete, who actually engages in variety of sports.
And these people are just a few among the rising number of people with ASD in the Philippines.
The increasing number of ASD
In Asia, the Philippines has one of the highest rates of prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorder. Based on the World Health Organization’s (WHO) 2009 study, the Philippines has an estimated 500,000 cases back when the population was still just 91 million. And the autism cases rose to million people in the present time.
Unfortunately, the recorded amount is just an estimation. It is said to be much more higher knowing that there are plenty of areas in the Philippines not being able to reach and covered due to difficult transportation and various limiting factors.
Transforming one to disabled to enabled
The problem doesn’t just lie in the increasing amount of ASD patients but also in the growing numbers of undocumented, unreported and untreated ASD patients due to poverty in far flung rural areas in the country.
For this reason, Center for Possibilities, a Non-Government Organization that is devoted to provide special education (SPED) for children with special needs from poor families in isolated rural areas arose. It is the mission of the organization to raise awareness and to change the nations perception about disabilities.
Aside from, helping the needs of people with ASD, they also embark on a program that provides vocational and agricultural development and trainings to teach the parent from indigent families to do craft and to raise products that they can sell to generate additional income for their family.
They started from teaching 13 exceptionals in Sagada, their first SPED Centre, and now, there are already 90 exceptionals in all. Meanwhile, they host 92 exceptionals in their second SPED Center in Norzagaray.
The organization is not focus on what makes them different. But what connects them to everybody in order to promote the promise and potential of all persons with disabilities. Hence, they are bridging the gap between what the nation lacks.
Love Inclusively Concert
The organization raises funds by conducting events related to art, film and music. And for this year, the organization held Art exhibits which featured the work of Vico Cham, Juno Santos and Samantha Kaspar.
And aside from showcasing their artistic painting ability, they are also brave enough to perform in front of more than hundreds of people for the first benefit concert organized by the Center for Possibilities Foundation Inc., entitled, “Love Inclusively”. A concert featuring the Manila Symphony Orchestra, with special participation of Ogie Alcasid, which was held on March 2, 2019, at RCBC Plaza Auditorium.
The event opens the eyes of the people to see the limitless possibilities that every person with disabilities can demonstrate. It was an event full packed with love and support for persons with disabilities.
And to quote, Dolores Cheng,the founder of the organization, “Though to watch is wonderful, to embrace is even better; that though to contribute money is generous, to champion with love is even more precious; and though to care is compassionate, to love inclusively is the only way to live. “