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The following story is from the social development department of the Philippine Independent Church (IFI-VIMROD), one of ABM’s partners in the Philippines. It tells of an inspirational woman who is fully engaged in the Community Capacity Building project, and has risen to a place of leadership in her community despite the challenges she has faced. This project is funded by ABM and Australian Aid (DFAT).
Empowered through Disability Rights Education
Judith Batindaan is a young member of the Marikaban Innovative Shellcraft Makers Association (MISMA) on the Philippines island of Bantayan (Santa Fe town), which was much impacted by Super Typhoon Haiyan a few years ago. Judith is a single mother and a farm labourer. She also has a physical disability. Anglican Board of Mission’s partner, VIMROD, helps form and assist associations like Judith’s to support local initiatives that empower their members economically.
VIMROD’s support to MISMA includes facilitating a number of training and workshops, including one on awareness of the rights of people with a disability. As a result of knowledge gained from this training, and the increased confidence she gained from being part of MISMA, Judith actually set up a new organisation for people like herself who are disadvantaged because of their disabilities.
“I’m very thankful that VIMROD introduced us to local laws regarding accessibility for People with Disabilities (PWDs). Once I realised that PWDs can access different forms of benefits from the government and the private sector, I went straight to Municipal Hall to process my PWD Identity Card. This card gives me 20% discounts on services and goods, including medicines and public transport. Previously I used to hide in my house because I was ashamed of my disability. Now I even encourage other PWDs to join MISMA so they can also learn about their rights. I help them to process their PWD Identity Cards.
“The barangay (local government) has a program on PWDs but it is not functioning. So, in October last year, I initiated an organisation for PWDs which now has 35 members and has become a partner of the Local Government Unit (LGU). We have started a Soup Making Project which is funded by the LGU. “
ABM would like to thank all of our supporters who have generously donated towards this project. Your assistance has led to the empowerment of many people with disabilities like Judith Batindaan, helping them to gain greater confidence and reach their life goals through education and support.