Tag Archives: Israel

In the Face of Calamities

Children with disabilities in the Philippines—there are 5.1 million of them to date—are the most vulnerable if there happen to be a calamity or an emergency in the country. They wouldn’t be able to flee; around 1.5 million need assistive devices. They wouldn’t be able to go back to school immediately and they wouldn’t be able to subsist in the sanitation conditions in evacuation centers.1

So, Dr. Renato Solidum Jr., Undersecretary for Disaster Risk Reduction of the Department of Science and Technology, proposed to carry out continuing education and preparation on disaster management in all levels especially those in the most vulnerable groups. He encouraged developing “disaster imagination” to bring about people’s resolve to prepare for any disaster and “disaster preparedness” as a way a life for every Filipino.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council–Office of Civil Defense also endorsed “Lahat Handa,” a training manual that promotes the rights and capacities of children, youth, older people and PWDS.

The ramifications of a typhoon, flood, or fire may linger, said Alex Ghenis of the Berkeley, California-based World Institute on Disability. These may disrupt access to caregivers, assistive devices and medical supplies. A person with a mobility impairment might be less able to escape a storm on their own while a person with a visual or hearing impairment might not receive appropriate evacuation notices. PWDs, therefore, even they have mostly been ignored in scientific literature and policy, will be the most vulnerable during calamities because of falling buildings and environmental pollution.

Good thing, someone has thought of sign language gestures for words like typhoon, storm surge and signal numbers in 2013. Some waterside villages in Tacloban have also planned to raise flags and made announcements over megaphones to alert the deaf and the visually impaired, respectively.

The PWD Forum also hopes that closed captioning will be added to television broadcasts soon. For, as of now, research director Perpi Tiongson of the Oscar M. Lopez Center in Manila has observed that the standard version of Filipino sign language isn’t required to be taught at schools for the deaf yet.

“Some of the children with disabilities wouldn’t be able to duck, cover and hold under tables, so they should identify the safest area in the room, where no debris would fall on them. If they use wheelchairs, they should fix it to ensure stability, and everyone should be informed of their buildings’ respective evacuation routes. They should also pinpoint the safe parts of a building in case of an earthquake.” ~ Dr. Renato Solidum Jr.

1This was noted by Lotta Sylwander, country representative of United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), during the “Emergency Preparedness Forum for Children and Youth with Disabilities.”

2Typhoons could form if the temperature is above 280C (82.40F).

3The figure was from a report of the British Broadcasting Corporation.

Notes:

  • Among of the natural disasters that had happened in the Philippines are the Bohol earthquake, (October 15, 2013), Typhoon Bopha (December 3, 2012), Pantukan landslide (January 5, 2012), Tropical Storm Washi (December 2011), Typhoon Fengshen (June 20-23, 2008), Tropical Cyclone Durian (November 25, 2006), Guinsaugon landslide (February 17, 2006), and Tropical Depression Winnie (November 2004).
  • The Office of the Civil Defense (OCD) in Western Visayas headed by Melissa Banias of the Capability Building Section has trained more or less 700 individuals from the 14 vulnerable or basic sectors that were identified by the National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC) on the Philippine DRRM system, different kinds of natural and human-induced hazards, and DRRM applications. They are composed of volunteer groups, persons with disability, farmers, fisherfolk, rebel returnees, and Indigenous Peoples (IP), among others.
  • The Philippines is prone to earthquakes, tsunamis, typhoons, landslides, storms, cyclones, and depressions simply because it is located just above the equator, where the country faces the western Pacific waters with 280C (82.40F) temperature2. Its hillsides are denuded of forests and it rests on the so-called volcano Ring of Fire.

A lot of Filipinos live on coastal islands, too. The Super Typhoon Haiyan reached 23 feet (7 meters) upon its surge. It rolled over the low-lying parts of Leyte, causing death to more than 10,000 people3.

Video taken from the YouTube Channel of Edison Jared

UPDATE (October 2, 2018): On average, more than 1,000 lives are lost every year in the Philippines, with typhoons accounting for 74 percent of the fatalities, 62 percent of the total damages, and 70 percent of agricultural damages, according to the World Bank.

Source: GMA News Online

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On PADS-Cebu

During the 9th Hong Kong International Dragon Boat Carnival held at Pier 10 of the Central Harbour in Hong Kong, the PADS Adaptive Dragon Boat Racing Team won in the 400-meter standard boat international paradragon division. It topped during the first heat of the race at 1:35 and during the second heat at 1:33.913.

The team bested 160 other teams consisting of 4,500 athletes from all over the world to rule the event for the second year in a row. The second place went to Hong Kong’s Golden Eagle while the third place went to Taiwan’s NAAC Top Brilliances Dragon Boat Team.

It wasn’t the first time the Philippine Accessibility Disability Services (PADS) brought victory to the country in dragon boat racing. The team, which was headed by JP Ecarma Maunes, is composed of 14 men and four women that are either blind, deaf, or amputees. In June 5, 2017, it already competed in the said carnival against teams from Hong Kong, United Kingdom, and Singapore. It won in the final round by seven seconds.

Like other organizations dedicated to PWDs, PADS aims to “enable the PWD community to grow and develop as independent, integrated, fully human and empowered citizens in society” through promoting social inclusion and human rights of PWDs. It has succeeded to (1) increase the participation of the PWD in Filipino electoral and governance processes, (2) educate communities on PWD human rights, and (3) develop opportunities to promote Filipino Sign Language 12 years after it has started.

“We dedicate this victory to the plight of thousands of Filipinos with disabilities. We also want to dedicate this triumph to the Filipinos in Hong Kong who took care of the needs of the team, took a stand to leave their day jobs, and cheered side by side with the team. May this win uplift their hearts and national pride.” ~ PADS

Notes:

  1. The 9th Hong Kong International Dragon Boat Carnival happened last June 22 to 24. It was organized by the Hong Kong Tourism Board and the Hong Kong China Dragon Boat Association.
  2. The other teams include those from Australia, Canada, France, Israel, Japan, Korea, Macau and Hong Kong, Mainland China, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, Taiwan, Philippines, and the United States.

Video taken from the YouTube Channel of MyTV Cebu

UPDATE (August 26, 2018): The Cebu-based Philippine Accessible Disability Services (Pads) Adaptive Dragonboat Racing Team have been recommended by the City Cultural and Historical Affairs Commission to be this year’s recipient of the Modern Day Hero Award.

Turning Three!

In its third year, The PWD Forum has continued advocating for the integration of special education to the basic and secondary curriculum of the schools in the Philippines.

It has done so by reporting about how “PWD-friendly” some countries are by discussing the legislations each has in governing its citizens with disabilities (Israel, Netherlands, Czech Republic, Bahamas).

It has also shared the stories of the persons with disabilities from the said countries who didn’t let their disabilities stop them (Mohamed Dalo, Jiří Ježek, Martin Kovář, Běla Hlaváčková, Petra KurkováTownsely Roberts, Gary Russell).

The PWD Forum has enumerated the organizations present in the same countries and described how each has been doing what they can for the PWDs in their midst1 2 3 4. It has listed the disabilities recognized in the world today; discussed which of these is common in Netherlands, Czech Republic, and Bahamas; and introduced a first-of-its-kind summit that happened last February 22-24, 2017.

The PWD Forum still believes in integrating special education to the basic and secondary curriculum of the schools in the Philippines. It would help the country’s economy if almost all of its citizens are skilled and qualified to meet the labor demands of globalization. And since its population is ageing, everyone is very much needed on the labor market. PWDs should then be given chances to contribute to its welfare.

“We have a responsibility to ensure that every individual has the opportunity to receive a high-quality education, from prekindergarten to elementary and secondary, to special education, to technical and higher education and beyond.” ~ Jim Jeffords

Video taken from the YouTube Channel of Lei Pico

1Those in Israel: https://thepwdforum.wordpress.com/2016/09/16/help-in-israel/

2Those in Netherlands: https://thepwdforum.wordpress.com/2016/10/28/help-in-netherlands/

3Those in Czech Republic: https://thepwdforum.wordpress.com/2017/01/13/help-in-czech-republic/

4Those in Bahamas: https://thepwdforum.wordpress.com/2017/04/07/help-in-bahamas/

5http://www.tribune242.com/news/2015/dec/02/why-its-so-important-end-disability-discrimination/

Help in Israel

Three kinds of organizations for PWDs [persons with disabilities] abound in Israel: for those with developmental disability, for those with mental disabilities, and for those with physical disabilities.

Providing services to children and adults with developmental disorders are the National Association for the Habilitation of Children and Adults with Intellectual Disabilities (AKIM), Beit Issie Shapiro, Chimesis, Sulam, Aleh, The Israeli Society for Autistic Children (ALUT),  Association Asperger—Israel (EPI), Beit Eckstein, Yated, and Kol Koreh.

Those with mental disabilities, on the other hand, can go to the Israel Association for the Disabled (Etgarim), The Israeli Mental Health Association (Enosh), Kfar Rafael, Ohr Le Nefesh, Somer, Seeach Sod, Association for the Advancement of learning Disabled Students in Higher Education (LESHEM),  and The Israeli Association for Children and Adults with Learning Disabilities (Nitzan).

Physically disabled Israelites also have organizations to go to depending on their impairments. Those visually impaired can go to the Association of Americans and Canadians in Israel (AACI), Multi-Service for the Blind (Mercaz Rav Sherutim L’Eiver),  and Variety.

Conversely, the deaf in this country can find belongingness at the Association of the Deaf in Israel (ADI), Organization of Hard of Hearing People in Israel (Bekol),  Institute for the Advancement of Deaf Persons in Israel, Society for the Education of Deaf Children in Haifa and Northern Israel (Micha), and Shema.

Likewise, physically impaired Israelites suffering from diseases that affect the muscles and nerves such as cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis and other neuromuscular diseases can seek refuge in Israel’s Foundation for Handicapped Children (ILAN).

Of all the centers that could alleviate the plight of persons with disabilities (PWDs) in Israel though, The PWD Forum found out 13 more organizations that care for the overall well-being of the PWDs in the country. The Association for the Quality of Life for Individuals with Special Needs (ACHLA), for one, runs the HEYANUT Center, the country’s only holistic center that provides comprehensive support for individuals with complex special needs.

Although officially registered as a pediatric and rehabilitation facility, the ALYN Woldenberg Family Hospital is nonprofit, treating children who have been injured in road accidents and terror attacks, children suffering from congenital conditions, and children suffering from physical limitations due to various illnesses.

Parents of PWDs or children of PWDs in Israel are guided through these organizations: BeineinuJerusalem Special Education Center, Kesher, Shalva, and Yad Sarah.

Integration to the Jewish community has also been at the top of the minds of the people behind Avoda Negisha, Israel Elwyn, Center for Independent Living, MILBAT, Shekel, and Yachad.

“If we are to achieve a richer culture, we must weave one in which each diverse human gift will find a fitting place.” Margaret Meade

Video from the YouTube Channel of ALEH ISRAEL

Israel

In Israel, persons with disabilities (PWDs) are given “financial’ importance.

They are treated as “work disabled persons” since their earning capacity was reduced due to a work-related injury. They are “paid” every 28th of the month through their respective bank accounts or to the kibbutz or cooperative moshav. The maximum work disability pension per month is NIS 32,8391, and would change every January 1st of the succeeding year in accordance with changes in the Consumer Price Index.

Israel has also established a commission—the Laron Committee—to “examine the integration of disabled people into the job market. And through its recommendations, the National Insurance Law was amended! Among of the points had been about the overall amount received from working and from pension vis-à-vis the amount received from pension alone: income shall increase the more a PWD earns from working. In case the PWD has to stop from working, though, the latter will still receive the disability pension as he or she did before without additional examinations.

Anyone receiving a general disability pension, attendance allowance, benefit for disabled child, mobility allowance, compensation for victims of ringworm, or compensation to polio victims from the National Insurance Institute (NII) is entitled to receive a “disability card.” It can be issued according to the PWD’s language preference—in either Hebrew or English—and can be used for seven years.

The NII will also be the one to determine the degree of disability of a PWD. For instance, if the doctor established an impairment involving the back and an impairment involving the leg, 20% will be allotted   for the back impairment while 8% for the leg impairment for a total of 28%.

“When speaking of disabilities, the blind and their needs are most often used as an example. It is deceivingly simplistic since accessibility is something most of the population can benefit from.” ~ Marcus Österberg

1 As of Jan 01, 2014

Video taken from the YouTube Channel of ערוץ של נציבות שוויון זכויות לאנשים עם מוגבלות

Victims of Love

I wouldn’t pretend that I know much about the wars going on in the world today.

I do understand, however, that two disabled women were killed and four were wounded when some Israeli rockets hit a center for the handicapped in northern Gaza on this day last week.

There are also people currently getting maimed and permanently disabled almost every hour in Syria, too. They need mobility devices (e.g. tricycles, artificial limbs, corset, etc.) to facilitate their physical mobility.

In Afghanistan last year, there were 800,000 PWDs left with limited access to health facilities after their war against America. About 70% of them were over 15 years old and unemployed, while 73% were over six years old and illiterate.

The world has dealt with these ‘challenges,’ particularly in Syria. Still, much needs to be done. Why can’t we stop becoming victims of love here?

“Equality is rooted not merely on charity or accommodation, but on justice for all.” ~ Former Supreme Court Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban of the Philippines