Joseph with his family.

NEW BATAAN, Compostela Valley — They may be young, but the pediatric wheelchairs they received will be unforgettable until they get old.

Joseph Paderog, 7 years old, is one of the two young boys who were fortunate to receive a pediatric wheelchair from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

Joseph has severe hydrocephalus, making him unable to walk. He used to have a wheelchair before but it was washed away by rampaging floods caused by typhoon Pablo.

Unlike his old wheelchair, Joseph liked the new one because it fits him, “Ganahan ko ani kay gamay (I like this because it’s small),” he said as he urged members of his family to gather behind him for a photograph session. The old wheelchair, he said, was for adults.

Joseph hopes that he will be able to finish college and eventually become an engineer so he could build houses for the poor.

The family was thankful that Joseph could now go to school on wheelchair and even mingle with other kids at his Grade 1 class.

The other beneficiary was 14-year old Reniel June Diano, the eldest child of couple Rene and Julieta Diano. The boy was diagnosed with muculo-skeletal dystrophy and lower respiratory tract infection. With his family’s meager income, he could not undergo the regular medical check-ups.

But Reniel is determined to go to school. With his new wheelchair, it would now be easier to achieve his dream.

“Para makalaag-laag pud ko didto (So that I could also go there),” pointing at the school grounds near his home.

Like Joseph, Reniel also lost his wheelchair, which serviced him for three years, to the typhoon.

“DSWD, through the Protective Services Unit, continues to implement programs and services to persons with disabilities like the provision of assistive devices. We aim to give them the opportunity to improve themselves despite their conditions,” social technology focal person Cynthia N/ Umbaña said.

“We hope that with the new pediatric wheelchairs, Joseph and Reniel are now a step closer to realizing their dreams,” she added. DSWD