Sunday, January 21, 2018
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      (Left) Felix Perez is a proud high school graduate at the age of 43; (Right) Rosa Pamado accomplishing the project baseline assessment tool


      Felix Perez was nine years old and a grade one student in a regular school in Valencia, Bukidnon when he started to lose his vision. At the age of 14, he became totally blind. According to Felix, he experienced discrimination and rejection even from his own family due to his disability. Despite this, he remained strong and determined to attain success in life. Today, he is pursuing a college degree in Bachelor of Science in Social Work at San Augustine Institute of Technology in Bukidnon. He also volunteers as a teacher to blind adults.

      Rosa Pamado, 34 years old and a graduate of the Center for Handicapped in Cotabato City, became blind at the age of eight. For many years, she stayed at her hometown in Koronadal City, uncertain of her future. It was only in 2006 when she was referred to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) that she realized that she could do something productive with her life. She now works as a licensed massage therapist in Davao City, proving that her disability need not be a hindrance to livelihood.

      Felix and Rosa are two of 29 individuals (38 percent women) who participated in a baseline assessment of the literacy needs of blind adults conducted by the Resources for the Blind, Inc. (RBI) in Mindanao, specifically in Cagayan de Oro, Butuan and Davao City.

      The United States Agency for International Development (USAID), through the Philippine-American Fund, supports RBI in promoting and facilitating braille literacy, as well as provide better employment options for blind adults.Under the project, RBI uses modern Braille technology in teaching. This machine allows trainers to develop teaching manuals for blind learners who are also taught to type and print in braille.

      The support includes the development of an adult Braille literacy instruction module, which is being tested and validated through the project. RBI plans to present the module to DSWD and the Department of Education (DepEd) to see how it can be applied to benefit other blind individuals. The project also partners with the Braille Accessibility Network Philippines which will help in the promotion of Braille literacy throughout the country.