BARAS, RIZAL – The rights and talents of people with disabilities will get the limelight in a series of activities to be organized by Handicap International and the Municipality of Baras on National Disability Prevention and Rehabilitation Week, July 17-23. At least 500 of the town’s people with disabilities – led by the Baras Federation of Persons with Disabilities, Inc. – will join the festivities which include a parade, a social services fair, and a concert.
Handicap International’s REBUILD Project will organize the annual celebration. The Project trains organizations of people with disabilities to become active local development stakeholders and aims to increase access to health, livelihood, and other services, among vulnerable Baras residents, particularly people with disabilities.
The REBUILD Project is a follow-up to Handicap International’s emergency response effort in the area after tropical storm Ondoy ravaged a large part of Metro Manila and nearby provinces, such as Rizal, in 2009. The European Union contributed more than 14 million pesos to the REBUILD Project, while the Swiss Solidarity gave about 32 million pesos.
This year’s NDPR Week carries the theme, “Talino at Paninindigan ng mga Taong may Kapansanan: Pasaporte sa Kaunlaran (Intelligence and Strong Conviction of People with Disabilities: Passport to Progress).” According to REBUILD Project Manager Joana Villaflor, the celebration’s activities highlight the theme, emphasizing the skills and rights of people with disabilities. She said all of them are free and open to the public.
The NDPR Week’s kickoff event will be a town parade on July 17. Hundreds of local disability advocates are expected to attend the event, which will start at 7 am.
The next day, July 18, will be called “Inclusive LGU Day.” The Municipal Government of Baras will set up a fair, with booths for various public social services, such as medical checkups, civil registration, and the issuance of ID cards for persons with disabilities. This will be done at the Municipal Hall.
On July 21, the REBUILD Project will open an exhibit on disability-inclusive disaster risk reduction and management at the Baras Municipal Hall (8 am). This will be followed by the stakeholders’ commitment-signing ceremony at the Baras Gymnasium (9 am). A short seminar on non-communicable diseases, such as cardiovascular diseases (being a leading cause of disability in the municipality), will then be held at the same venue at 1 pm.
July 22 will be marked by the annual General Assembly of the BFPWDAI, at 8 am, at the Baras Gymnasium. At 1 pm, the film Taare Zameen Par (Like Stars on Earth) will be shown to the public at the same place.
The celebration’s culminating program and concert will be held on July 23 at the Baras Gymnasium (6 pm). Local artists, including those with disabilities, will grace the event. Winners of a student-art contest and an arch-making contest (outdoor arches depicting different themes on disability and inclusion) will also receive their awards during the closing program.