During the quarantine last year, more and more people turned to online streaming specifically to Netflix. There was a time that my social media feed was full with a list of the best documentaries. I have watched a few, but I did not review or share any in this blog.
But over the weekend, I was able to watch a documentary which I feel needs to be seen by everyone. It’s called “Posible: SPED Students’ Pursuit of the Arts”, a 45-minute documentary presented by Special Achievers.
The Special Achievers is a non-profit, non-stock and non-government organisation that helps children and youth with disability (CYWD) through the programs they created. They currently have two – Mentorship and Expression. The former provides free tutorials and training in arts, music, and sports while the latter focuses on promoting the works and talents of CYWDs who excel in a particular craft or skill.
In the said documentary, Special Achievers ran the Mentorship program by preparing five courses – dance, music, visual arts, creative theatre and chocolate-making for 35 special education (SPED) students of San Antonio National High School in Makati City. The NGO brought in professionals from each field to discover the strengths, talents and train the SPED students for four months.
Did you know that 16 per 1000 Filipinos have disabilities? And for those with disabilities, many of them are within 5 to 19 years old. Karen Ann Navarro, Occupational Therapist and co-founder of Special Achievers shared a world report on disability at the beginning of the documentary.
“A disability is not just because there is a part of the body missing or intellectual deficits. There is also a disability because there’s a negative attitude towards it. There is a limitation set by the people around them.”
The last part is quite sad, but it is the truth. Indeed, society placed limitations. As mentioned in the documentary, there are limitations in inaccessibility, employment, rehabilitation, education and opportunities. Whether done unconsciously or not, people with disabilities are not given fair treatment even in the Philippines.
I wonder. Are people aware of this negative mindset and its effects? We all indeed have different thoughts and reactions towards something we can not comprehend. But placing stereotypes, especially on people with disabilities, is the by-product of ignorance.
With “Posible: SPED Students’ Pursuit of the Arts”, Special Achievers was able to point out that limitations are nothing. SPED students are capable of overcoming any hindrance. They are capable of doing anything they put their mind to. Take John Michael Brecino, one of the students, for example. During the interview, he said some words that uplift the soul.
“My two purposes are to show all the people what I can do and to inspire people like me to do the things I am doing. I hope they do not hesitate to go out of their comfort zone, because if you do not go out of it, what will happen to you? Nothing.”
The film was able to document the SPED students journey as they break their barriers and the ones set by society. Moreover, their mentors kept on complimenting each SPED student’s attitude during the training. No matter the disability, the SPED students are attentive, cooperative; not to mention, eager to accept the knowledge their mentors are sharing with them.
From Why to Thank you
Presented in the first few minutes of the documentary are interviews of the parents. Some of them uttered the word, why. They recalled that they used to ask themselves, “Why is it like that? Why did it happen to me?” Now, they no longer question God but instead say thank you.
Thank you is an expression of gratitude that was uttered numerous times in the documentary. Do you know who said those words a lot? The SPED students who took part in the program. Sure, it is a simple expression and easy to say compared to I’m sorry. But these children are genuinely thankful. They are not ashamed to say it out loud with a smile on their face.
How about you? What are you thankful for in life? And as part of society, have you opened your eyes and your heart yet?
Through this documentary, we can see that anything is possible. As part of society, I believe it is also possible for us to remove limitations. We have the power to create more choices and opportunities for every being.
With that, I urge you to watch “Posible: SPED Students’ Pursuit of the Arts”, a documentary presented by Special Achievers. The funds raised from this documentary will support the NGO’s ongoing art mentorship program for SPED students.