I know my disability will limit my ability to do service that demands physical strength. However, that doesn’t mean that my capacity to dream and pursue my goals will be limited as well.

Following my election as BSPMC chair, I was anxious but happy at the same time with the responsibility entrusted to me by the community but I am grateful to community facilitators of Kalahi-CIDSS who were always supportive of my endeavors.

Growing up, I experienced discrimination from people around me. They would often question my ability and hurl insensitive comments about my disability.

Instead of being taken aback, I anchored on these negative vibes as challenges to motivate me in pursuing my goals of helping my community.

For someone who’s been judged as less capacitated to help, I used my disability to boost the morale of the community. Demonstrating sheer determination, I moved forward as I joined barangay assemblies and capacity building sessions, unmindful of my condition.

Through Kalahi-CIDSS, the villagers were guided to choose, design and implement sub-projects that address their most pressing needs.

I believed if I can do a lot, the people around me could do so much more. We then started to work together, gradually building various successful community sub-projects.

I am thankful that DSWD gives equal opportunities to people with impairment like me. They opened opportunities for us and they made us feel that after all, we have a part and we can contribute to the development of our community. (DSWD)

-Rey E. Jaboneta, 42, Kalahi-CIDSS volunteer, National Bayani Ka Awardee and Kalahi-CIDSS BSPMC Chair of Barangay New Panay, Maragusan, Compostela Valley