handiCAPped: Breaking Stigmas About Disabilities

By Carl Chester Cadizon | Posted on August 29, 2023

Cap is a known slang term for ‘lie’.  

In today’s world, lies have become more common, leading to making narratives that can be hard to break. With stigmas being created around false information, walls are being built and reinforced, creating barriers that are hard to break with a single blow. 

Persons with disabilities or PWDs are seen by many as an inconvenience. Others see it as a way to get discounts on necessities such as food and fares or simply to get special treatment. It’s a different story for people with actual disabilities.

Learning the different types of disabilities discussed by the guest speaker, Ms. Vernadette Liz Raymundo.

Having close family members classified as PWDs allowed me to witness what an ordinary, fully-abled person can do to these vulnerable people. Some people have degraded, mocked, made unnecessary physical contact, taunted, verbally abused, and made other disturbing actions that do not make any sense. Because of these instances, people with disabilities have become close to my heart. 

To mark the beginning of the new Rotary Year, my home club, the Rotaract Club of Manila Zobel conducted a webinar entitled “handiCAPped: Breaking Stigmas About Disabilities” last August 3, 2023, via Zoom. 

Livelihood programs started by PWD Labac for its members to have an opportunity to showcase themselves.

The webinar aimed to open the eyes of a regular Juan to break the stigma about disabilities. It showcased the PWDS of Labac, known to be one of the largest groups of PWDs in the municipality of Naic, Cavite. It also emphasized the fact that they can adjust and live in society without any prejudice and inequality. 

The guest speaker, Ms. Vernadette Liz Raymundo, also known as Ms. Vern by PWD Labac, is an active advocate and volunteer of PWD Labac and other organizations, such as Gawad Kalinga. She is a college student in Manila but finds time to help her community in Cavite. She shared her knowledge and experience and corrected common misconceptions about persons with disabilities.  She also emphasized the ways a common Juan can help PWDs.

Livelihood programs started by PWD Labac for its members to have an opportunity to showcase themselves.

During the question and answer portion of the webinar, the President of PWD Labac, Mr. Bernaldo A. Postigo Jr., who has a communication disability, answered all questions from the audience with enthusiasm. Alongside Ms. Vern, he was vocal about the projects of their organization, such as livelihood programs for other PWDs in the community and ways to help persons with disabilities. He pointed out that a simple encouragement of their abilities meant a lot to people like him. 

Mr. Bernaldo also shared something about PWDs, “Just because a person has a disability, it does not mean there should be no opportunity given. Just like a normal person, we are able to do beyond what people think we can do.” He then ended his answer by citing “PWD stands not only for a person with disability, but a person willing to develop and a person with determination.”

Ms. Vern added that no matter how big or small, the show of presence in the lives of PWDs serves as a glimpse of hope.

The webinar ended on a high note. The club is looking forward to sustaining events and projects relating to the same idea.

The Rotaract Club of Manila Zobel would like to acknowledge and thank all 23 Rotaract Clubs that co-hosted the webinar. The half of the collected amount from the webinar will be turned in personally on August 20, 2023, in Labac, Naic, Cavite. Additional supplies will also be donated to PWD Labac. 

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