Wednesday, July 20, 2016

SM Cares, UNICEF, Tanghalang Pilipino, and Camera Club Celebrate National Disability Prevention and Rehabilitation (NSPR) Week

I support several advocacies because I genuinely believe in the big difference they make in people's lives. On top of my list is advocating for individuals with special needs because my third son is one and I would like to see them all treated with respect and dignity like any normal member of society.

14-year-old Marina Villa, a beautiful girl diagnosed with
Down Syndrome and Autism, has taught her family
the true meaning of patience, courage, humility, and unconditional love
This year, I am joining SM Cares, UNICEF, Tanghalang Pilipino, and the Camera Club of the Philippines in celebrating the National Disability Prevention and Rehabilitation (NDPR) Week, which started last July 18. 

Elai Tovera suffers from Spastic Cerebral Palsy
(the same condition my son has) but remains
a dedicated student who is eager to learn and lights up
when talking about her school
I believe in their objective of raising awareness and helping create an inclusive environment for Children with Disabilities (CWDs) by highlighting their abilities instead of their disabilities. The campaign, called #ThisAbilityPH, features informative and educational activities for mall-goers through Tanghalang Pilipino's Sandosenang Sapatos stage play and an exhibit entitled See What I Can Do by the Camera Club where photos depict the everyday lives of CWDs.

VP Leni delivering a very inspiring speech

The NDPR was launched at the Music Hall of SM Mall of Asia the other day. Vice President Leni Robredo, who was guest of honor, gave a very inspiring speech. 

ribbon cutting to formally open the
See What I Can Do photo exhibit
It was heartwarming to see her stay longer after the ribbon cutting to briefly meet, one by one, all the kids with disabilities featured in the photos and patiently have her photo taken with them. 

VP Leni with Gabriel Vega Querubin who, despite deformities in his hands
and leg, does not let these hinder him from engaging in
physical activities that bring him joy 
Later, we were all treated with a free staging of Sandosenang Sapatos, a well-loved children's story based on a book written by Dr. Luis Gatmaitan and published by OMF Literature. As I expected, the highly-professional and talented TP actors gave such an amazing show despite the lack of CCP's formal stage and designed backdrops. 

Sandosenang Sapatos is heartwarming and inspiring
if you can't watch the show, buy the book and read it!
In addition, although the sun was shining bright and hot, it didn't deter the cast from delivering wonderful performances although I could just imagine how uncomfortable it was to be wearing costumes and make up while singing and dancing amidst the afternoon heat. Great job, everybody!

Watch this sneak peek of Sandosenang Sapatos! 
It will make you want to catch the next performance!

Make sure to catch repeat free stagings of Sandosenang Sapatos at the SM MOA Music Hall this coming Saturday, July 23, and at SM City Clark's event center on Sunday, July 24. The photo exhibit will be displayed in both MOA and Clark until July 23. It will be displayed in SM City Cebu from August 13 to 19, then in SM City Davao from August 22 to 28.

in her dreams, Susie, a disabled child, can do anything
This initiative is just one of the collaborative efforts between SM Cares and UNICEF, which have been partners since 2008. It aims to further SM's advocacy to uphold the rights and welfare of children and Persons with Disabilities (PWDs). Other projects spearheaded by the two organizations included the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Project wherein a portion of the sale of SM’s bottled water goes to the organization’s efforts to provide clean drinking water to various provinces in the country. To date, it has already helped more than 113,000 school children across the Philippines.

my blogger friends and I with the amazing cast of Sandosenang Sapatos
SM Cares, a division of SM Foundation Inc., is the corporate social responsibility arm of SM Prime Holdings, Inc. As a responsible mall developer, SM ensures that its CSR programs serve as a catalyst for positive change for the community. SM Cares has six advocacies, mainly which are programs for: Persons with Disabilities, Senior Citizens, Children and Youth, Women and Breastfeeding, Overseas Filipino Workers (The SM Global Pinoy), and the Environment.

with author Dr. Luis Gatmaitan and Ms. Tessa Valdes,
who played one of the shoe fairies in the story
To know more about SM Cares’ programs for Children, and PWDs, please visit: or

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