“Peer Counseling, Personal Assistant and Independent Living Seminar-Training-Workshop Phase II
A World CP Day Celebration 2015
Association of Persons with Cerebral Palsy (APCP)
Persons with Disability Affairs Office (PDAO)
San Pedro, Molo, Iloilo City
October 27, 28-29, 2015
Having a disability is a challenging journey to go through. Dealing with our daily life as persons with disabilities is a struggle, not just to us, but to our significant others as well. Our day-to-day life often starts and ends by being dependent to other people around us. We depend much, up to the point where we already lost our sense of self ~our self esteem and our self worth. Soon after, we may lose our will to live.
Nevertheless, no matter what we go through, we are still alive; with the assistance that other people are giving us. But often than not, we were pitted, rather than being encouraged.
This is where Peer Counseling, Personal Assistant and Independent Living were collaborated by the Association of Persons with Cerebral Palsy (APCP) in a three days Seminar-Training-Workshop for our Asia Pacific Network for Independent Living (APNIL) Phase II Proposal Grant.
As the person with disability grows older, our needs are more personal. The more severe our disability is, the more complicated our needs are. Both, us persons with disability and our significant others, go through challenges in coping with our disability. In coping with our daily lives, adjustments from both us persons with disability and our significant others are important to be addressed. Thus we, the Association of Persons with Cerebral Palsy, being the advocates of a barrier free-community based-independent living life to persons with disability; we designed a three-days Seminar-Training-Workshop program for our fellow persons with disability, their significant others and those who are interested or are familiar with the lives of people with disabilities.
It is important that we know and accept ourselves first before we could expect others to know and accept us. Just like any other person, we are unique in our very way. But most of us fear to know facts about ourselves. We tend to be stagnated in our own limitations that we focus only on what we cannot do or what we are afraid of. Therefore, it is but just to empower our very own selves first before we could go in with our community. Through conquering our fears, we may be able bring out great potentials of ourselves.
As we have empowered ourselves, we are now capable to communicate and get connected with the people in the community. Being an empowered person, especially an empowered person with disability, is best to be the role model to others who are less empowered. Therefore, peer counseling is the channel to be able to share experiences to one another, as we struggle to understand and be able to cope with the complexity of any kind of disability.
Being an empowered persona, one’s disability is laminated by his/her capacity to decide for himself/herself. Despite limitations, an empowered person with disability may be able to utilized his/her potentials, and may live a fulfilling life; given to have a personal assistant with his/her side to do things for him/her. His/her personal assistant will serve as his/her hands and his/her feet.
Just when we, the persons with disability, are empowered through the partnership and the cooperation of persons with disability, their significant others and the community; it would be best if we, the persons with disability could live life independently. But independent living does not mean being alone. It means one may decide on how to go about his/her life, despite his/her physical limitations. It is truly possible for person with disability to live independently with the help of technology of devices and having a personal assistant to go about all his/ her needs.
Therefore, these are the topics concerning the importance of how an empowered person with disability is able to go through life with an optimistic view in life. Having all these tools, a person with disability will be able to integrate himself/herself within the community, with dignity and respect to himself/herself and of others to him/her. This is what “Peer Counseling, Personal Assistance and Independent Living Seminar-Training-Workshop” is all about.
As Association of Persons with Cerebral Palsy (APCP) being the proponent of this seminar-training-workshop, we the ‘Power 3’ (Mr. Mark F. Espesor [President]. Ms. Marie Louise Kathryn M. Cerbas [Vice President] and Ms. Blesilda T. Mabilog [Secretary]), were also the Speakers-Trainers-Facilitators. The event was done for three (3) consecutive days. Our participants were the members Districts and Associations of the Federation of Persons with Disability Associations in Iloilo City (FPDAIC). It was held at Persons with Disability Affairs Office (PDAO), San Pedro, Molo, Iloilo City.
MS. MARIE LOUISE KATHRYN M. CERBAS (SPEAKER/FACILITATOR OF THE DAY)
The first day started at 10 O’ Clock. The Invocation was done through a video prayer. Soon after, we paid homage to our country by singing the National Anthem. It was followed by discussing our expectations to one another. Then, we started event proper by the speaker, yours truly Marie Louise Kathryn ‘Kate’ M. Cerbas, introducing myself through a presentation “Window of My Soul”.
I sincerely believe that before expecting others to know, understand and accepts us, it is just right to know, understand and accept our very selves first. Therefore, I presented myself in a way how these characters and post affect my life. In “Window of My Soul”, I presented my childhood through a Hello Kitty (HK) Push picture. As we all know, HK was made to have no mouth so that she could keep the little princess’ secrets. This means that as a little girl, I’m verbal in telling how I feel. So I just suite myself to tell it to my HK doll. But as I grew older, I realized that having Cerebral Palsy is not that easy, (having any kind of disability for that matter, I may say). To live by my condition takes a lot of courage out of me. With this, Cerebral Palsy is not for the weak. So I listed down my goals, as well as my fears. All throughout my life, I am blessed to be treat like a princess. Yet, my family have also taught me how to be strong for myself and for others. I believe, I am courageous warrior. Like the “Little Mermaid”, before, I longed to be part of other people’s world ~the society. I kept on pursuing my goals, while conquering my fears. Now as an empowered person with Cerebral Palsy, I feel a Caterpillar that just keep on crawling; until I got empowered and become a beautiful Butterfly.
MR. JOHN KIN LAMBUSON (PARTICIPANT, ANSWERING HIS ‘WINDOW OF MY SOUL’ GUIDE QUESTIONS)
From that presentation, I worked on with the participants by making them answer the guide questions after they listed their goals and their fears. These questions will guide them in resurfacing their inner thoughts regarding their disability. Here are the following questions:
The last topic I discussed in the morning was “Empowering Persons with Disability: How to Go About Changing Everything.” As we talked about attitudes, disposition, body posture and manner of speaking; I facilitated a group discussion regarding the topics. Both the participants and yours truly shared thoughts and experiences about every points.
During noontime, Mr. Mark Espesor played videos from Asia Pacific Development Center on Disability (APCD). The videos These are APCD Vision and Goal; and APCD Empowerment, Barrier-Free and Commitment. In the videos, several empowered persons with disability were documented on how they go about their daily lives in the Independent Living Centers in Japan. Despite the severity of their disability, they managed to live their lives their own way. Their significant others or their personal assistants were there assist them in their very needs.
In the afternoon, I talked about “The 7 Paths of Life.” From these, we tackled how to follow our dreams with all our hearts. As we follow our dreams, we need to be focusing on our strength. In order for us to be focus on our strength, we really need to believe on ourselves first. Oftentimes, we all need others to inspire or motivate us in doing our best in achieving our goals in life. Through this inspiration(s), we may create our own ‘Dream Team’. Our ‘dream team’ is composed of people who inspires us to be at our best. In doing our best, we need to expect to fail anytime. But failing does not mean giving up. It simply means accepting failure to better in the future. As we better ourselves, we become empowered and shining our light ahead. This means shining our light is how we would carry ourselves; who We speak about ourselves to others; but most especially how speak about ourselves to ourselves.
At the end of the day, the participants were able to internalized what had happened in the past and how these affect their present. They understand that change is constant, more so for the better. In knowing others, we must know ourselves first. As we make changes in our lives, we get to meet people; people of different personalities. The uniqueness of each person who touches our lives, would mold us into the person that we have become.
MR. JEJOEMAR TEJADA (PARTICIPANT, SHARING HIS INSIGHTS ON ‘THE 7 PATHS OF LIFE’.)
MR. MARK F. ESPESOR (SPEAKER/FACILITATOR OF THE DAY)
On the second day, we started with the recapitulation from the first day seminar-workshop. We had a ‘pass-the-ball’ game. As the ball being passed, a fun song was played, when the music stopped, the person holding the ball will pick a piece of paper that has a phrase, a word, or a question related to the topics and or the discussions done on the first day. It was done the help of one our participants, Andrew Oñas. Through this, we got a lot of insights about the different perspectives of persons with disability like us.
After the recapitulation, Mr. Mark Espesor had a reconnection of topics being discussed on the first day to his Independent Living, as his first topic on this day. As he relates the two (2) topics, he played a video entitled: “Independent Living Project in Thailand and in Japan”. In that video, we could see the persons with disability are empowered. They are able to live independently, through the guidance and assistance of the people around them and the devices they have been provided with. Through these, inclusion of persons with disability in the society made easy.
SOME OF PARTICIPANTS WITH THE FACILITATORS DURING ONE-ON-ONE COUNSELING SESSION
In the afternoon, Mr. Espesor then, paired the participants, including us the facilitators, to have a one-on-one counseling. The session goes for five (5) minutes each. Then, the session inter-changed counselor-counselee position. After the sessions, Mr. Espesor explained the importance of peer counseling to the participants. He said that it is important to have someone to confide with. Peer Counseling gives one a relief that there is another person who goes through with us.
GROUP COUNSELING WITH THE PARTICIPANTS AND THE FACILITATORS
MS. BLESILDA MABILOG (SPEAKER/FACILITATOR OF THE DAY)
The last day started with a recapitulation. Then, the Speaker of the day Ms. Blesilda Mabilog talked about personal assistance. We again viewed the video on “Independent Living Project in Thailand and in Japan”. In the video, the personal assistant, whether a hired personnel or a family member, played an important role in the daily life of an empowered person with disability. Both Mr. Espesor and Ms. Mabilog explained to the participants the major points such as how to assist persons with disability with his/her daily routine. There are innovative ways in communicating with severe person with disability. Devices and materials may be used in communicating.
A VIDEO THAT SHOWED AN EMPOERED PERSON WITH DISABILITY LIVING INDEPENDENTLY
In the afternoon, Ms. Mabilog did a workshop on Basic Facilitating Skills and Methods. She grouped the participants into two. Each participant was given different scenario. The groups the groups had a role playing of how they present a proposal for small business enterprise to be funded by an agency.
GROUPS DISSING HOW TO PRESENT THE SCENARIO GIVEN TO THEM
The three (3) days Seminar-Training-Workshop gave both us the Speaker/Facilitators and the participants a great overview of how persons with disability may be empowered when living independently. Knowing how to empower ourselves could lead us to be fruitful individuals in the society. Each activity and every lecture, as well as the videos being shown paved the way to lighten up a little fire in our hearts that one day, Philippines, especially Iloilo City, could be able to empower more persons with disability and help them live their respective lives independently.
SPEAKER/FACILITATORS AND THE PARTICIPANTS AND THE GUEST OF HONOR MS. DOLORES LAUDENORIO, NAPC REGION VI CONSULTANT
MARIE LOUISE KATHRYN M. CERBAS
APCP Vice President /Project Coordinator
MARK F. ESPESOR