Philippines: Rising against the odds

Inspiring stories of persons with disabilities

  • Fai, 49, hospital staff
    Fai, 49, hospital staff
    "The assistance of DJF was helpful to my recovery. The crutches that I previously used hurt my armpits, and it’s difficult to use when the floor is slippery. In my stay here for almost 2 weeks, I noticed that people here walk normally with prosthesis. It somehow comforts me to talk to patients here in DJF who are in the same situation. We often say that we cannot bring back the past that’s why we have no other option but to look forward."
    ICRC/M. Lucero
  • Arsenio, 33, lawyer
    Arsenio, 33, lawyer
    "PWDs should engage actively in their community’s activities. Being passive and mere subjects to charity are things of the past. PWDs nowadays should be more assertive of their rights and initiate projects that would lift and improve the lives of all the PWDs toward an inclusive community and society. Accept your imperfections and use it as an inspiration to have a better life. Have a positive attitude towards life and aim to do better things not just for you but for the community especially to the PWD sector."
    ICRC/M. Lucero
  • Diana, 24, DJF cashier
    Diana, 24, DJF cashier
    "Fortunately, DJF, the institution that gave me my prosthesis in order to walk normally, has also given me my job. I have been working as a cashier here in DJF for two years. Working here is such a blessing and fulfillment because I can help people who are like me. I believe that this is part of God’s plan for me. If I focus on my goal and not on unfortunate circumstances, I think I can succeed in life. My current goal is to enroll in college next year and finish my education. I always get my inspiration from my family and friends who support me.”
    ICRC/M. Lucero
  • Analyn, 38, full-time mother
    Analyn, 38, full-time mother
    "With all the challenges, I draw my strength from my family and God. God will never give us problems we cannot solve. To all parents who are also taking care of their child with special needs, never lose hope. Whenever your child feels that you are not giving up on them, I believe that they will feel your efforts and will also strive to become better. I am proud that JP is striving, and it gives me more hope. He is always excited for his online class because he often looks for his teacher Lucy.”
    ICRC/M. Lucero
07 December 2021

Nearly everyone in the world has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. But its impact varies greatly on the vulnerability of one's own community. For persons with disabilities (PWDs), the pandemic increased their health risks, and further impaired their ability to receive rehabilitation services or to earn a living.

But for Analyn and PWDs like Fai, Arsenio and Diana, giving up and losing hope is not an option. They continue to strive, thrive, and win their own personal battles amid the pandemic.

And they are not alone in their battles. For the past 34 years, Davao Jubilee Foundation (DJF) has been helping PWDs to regain their independence through improved functional ability and a better quality of life. DJF is a non-government organization located in Davao City that provides a variety of physical rehabilitation services to persons with disability and people in need of supportive braces, wheelchairs or artificial limbs, with the aim to improve their functionality and independence, to restore their confidence, dignity, capabilities and active participation in society. DJF's physical rehabilitation services includes physical therapy, manufacturing artificial limbs, orthosis and customized wheelchairs following high international standards of quality and consistency at a reasonable cost.

The ICRC is a long-time humanitarian partner of DJF in providing comprehensive physical rehabilitation services, for all PwD regardless of the cause or reason of impairment. ICRC's strong partnership with DJF strengthened PWDs' access to comprehensive and high-quality physical rehabilitation, mitigating the challenging circumstances faced by PWDs in the Philippines, particularly in Mindanao especially during the times of an ongoing and prolonged pandemic.

The ICRC through its transversal approach across different department and specialists, also supports the socio-economic needs of DJF beneficiaries with an unconditional cash grant, which enabled recipients to meet their family's basic needs while accessing physical rehabilitation services.

December 3rd is the United Nations International Day of Persons with Disabilities. This year's theme is "Leadership and participation of persons with disabilities toward an inclusive, accessible and sustainable post-COVID-19 world." On this day, we shine a light on persons with disabilities and their capabilities, resilience and displays of leadership amid the pandemic.

What is everyday life like for a persons with disability who are actively participating and contributing as productive members of society? What are their dreams, hopes and aspirations? How do they cope with the challenges brought about by personal and societal circumstances and not least by COVID-19?

Get inspired with their stories of standing up tall and together against all odds.