For 25-year-old Honey Lyn Ruiz, being a volunteer peer educator under the REBUILD Project allows her to kill not two but three birds with one stone.
First, it is a way to improve her interpersonal skills and confidence. Part of the job is to visit people with disabilities in Baras.
“I talk to them about the basic concepts on disability,” she says. Doing this has helped her to become more understanding with people – particularly persons with disabilities – and challenged her to be more creative when communicating to them.
Second, it is helping her to understand better her 20-year-old sister, Hyacinth, who has a hearing impairment. “I’m now able to help her more,” Honey Lyn says. Hyacinth is studying information technology at the University of Rizal System in Morong, Rizal. Indeed it was Hyacinth who inspired Honey Lyn to volunteer as a Peer Educator.
And third, being a peer educator is expanding the reach of her community service.
Having a bachelor’s degree in math, majoring in computer science, Honey Lyn is now teaching math and computer skills to kids at a private school in Cardona, Rizal. But that is not enough for her generous heart. On weekends, she tries her best to be available to whatever activity or visiting session she needs to do as a peer educator.
“Before I was hired as a teacher, I had all the time to attend the REBUILD Project’s activities, particularly seminars and trainings,” she says. “But now that I’m teaching on weekdays, I look forward to any weekend activity that I would have to do.”
For Honey Lyn, being a peer educator is truly fulfilling. “You tell [people with disabilities] about the advantages of having a Person with Disability ID card,” she says. “You tell them about the benefits of the card. And you impart to them a sense of belonging, of not being alone.”
Today Honey Lyn’s enthusiasm is such that she plans to follow a career path specializing on educating children with disabilities.
“I want to become a good teacher, and if given the opportunity, I would like to focus on providing Special Education (SpEd),” she says. She has big dreams to advance the rights of people with disabilities in the Philippines, especially in education. So perhaps killing three birds with one stone is a wrong metaphor. Honey Lyn wants to fly.
Originally published in the REBUILD Project Newsletter
The REBUILD Project is implemented with financial support from