By Chito Chavez
As a testament of support to the city’s differently- abled children, Quezon City Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte said the launching of the 43rd Camp Pag-ibig would empower children with disabilities (CWD) through activities that promote interaction and learning among them.
Belmonte has cited the importance of programs that provide inclusivity and engagement of CWDs to bring out their exceptional talents while giving them a sense of belongingness to the society.
“Nais nating ipaintindi sa mga bata na ang mga kabataan ay iba-iba talaga, pero hindi ibig sabihin no’n ay hindi na sila pantay-pantay kung hindi iba-iba lang. We are celebrating diversity in the midst of equality (We want the kids to understand that they may differ in attributes this does not mean they are not equals, that they are unique in their own ways),” said Belmonte.
The activities in the recent Camp Pag-ibig included a parent’s forum, training for first aid and disaster management for campers and teachers, and other sub-camp activities such as arts and crafts, swimming, water play, nature love, games and sports, and music and dance.
“Here, we let the children interact with each other for them to feel that they belong. We engage them in various activities so that they will discover the things they want to do. This is an educational system called universal design for learning,” Belmonte said.
“The educational system is a designed curriculum which takes into consideration the different and the diverse skills of every child, because every child is different. We have to accept the term ‘many different types of learning’ not only lectures, not just textbooks, not just writing. There is the use of music, there is the use of drama, painting, sculpture, poetry, and others,” she added.
Belmonte has been active in crafting projects that tend to the needs of CWDs; last year, she established a special care facility for children with disabilities, called Kabahagi Resource Center for Children with Disabilities that offers free intervention programs for disabled children, free trainings for parents, and referrals for children who have special needs.
Also last year, Quezon City was awarded as one of the most PWD-friendly local government units in the country by the Philippine Foundation for the Rehabilitation of the Disabled, Inc. (PFRD) for its exceptional services rendered to PWDs.