By SHEILA M BASBAS
NAGA CITY: On its fourth year in Bicol, the Deaf Awareness Week celebration has exceeded expectations.
Organized by the Bicol Adult Deaf and Youth to educate, enrich their lives, and inspire them to reach their full potential, the celebration also aims to impress on other people that their lack of ability to hear does not hinder them from doing their share in the community.
The organization, headed by its President Johna Guiruela who is already working in Manila, and its Vice President Dondy Anacin, together with fellow officers, Bellsy Mae Misolas, Anne Genterola and the rest of the group believe that the weeklong yearly celebration sends the message that being deaf is not a total disability, and though their ability to communicate effectively with hearing people may be impaired, the deaf are very much a part of society and cannot be ignored.
With the theme, Ano DAW? Dynamic Engaged Attuned Family, the celebration kicked off with a career orientation seminar, and a consultation with business owners on employment of deaf people.
This was followed by a series of talks that were meant to increase their capability to deal with the rest of the world.
To guide the deaf with their rights and privileges, the Social Security System (SSS) discussed about the advantages of being an SSS member.
The Pag-ibig talk gave the deaf community a better understanding of the need to save for their future and how to loan certain amount to use for their business through the multi-purpose loan that Pag-ibig offers.
A representative from Philhealth discussed about the healthbenefits a deaf member can avail of.
A representative of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), on the other hand, dealt with learning the ropes in business.
A speaker from the Technical Educational Systems Development Authority (TESDA) told them about scholarships and opportunities a deaf person can avail at their office.
There are indeed courses which do not require extensive communication, like commercial cooking, welding and other short term courses which a deaf person can train in three months, and land a job or open up a business after the training.
The Land Transportation Office (LTO) explained carefully the rights of a deaf person in terms of securing a driver’s license.
The brief seminar on traffic rules and regulations gave the deaf a better insight on how to avoid road accidents, while the Health Emergency Medical Staff (HEMS) team from BMC gave an extensive basic first aid for the deaf.
With the celebration’s thrust to uplift the status of the deaf people in the society, a series of livelihood training seminars such as button handicrafts, basic cartooning, and Origami were conducted to enrich the skill of the hearing impaired.
As a result of all these activities, this year, they didn’t just get their hands busy doing sign language but were also preoccupied learning new skills which they can use in the future.
The Deaf Awareness Week committee is headed by its advisor Philip Olivan, a businessman, supported by the Gualandi Sisters and the backbone of the group, the staunch advocates, Dr. Filip Pio, Jr. and Alma Guiruela. - Bicol Mail