Phillipine Working Group (PWG)-International Centre for Disability and Rehabilitation (ICDR), from University of Toronto, holds its 3rd The Apolinario Mabini Memorial Lecture Award and this year’s recipient is no other than Dr. Marcia Rioux, York University Distinguished Research Professor who has been appointed a member of the Order of Canada in recognition of her scholarship in the field of social justice and for her advancement of the rights of persons with disabilities (PWDs).
Other notable Guest Speakers who have been very supportive of PWG from the start include Philippine Consulate General Rosalita Prospero, Dean Darlene Reid of Department of Physical Therapy, and University of Toronto and ICDR Exec. Director Dr. Stephanie Nixon. The Master of Ceremonies is our very own, the very charismatic and amiable CBC Television Anchor/Host Michael Serapio. PWG members and leaders, whose slogan is “working together to accomplish more” has gained the admiration of all Guest Speakers and they all take pride of the accomplishments of the organization, headed by Mr Jeffrey Andrion and Jacqueline Rotella, Co-Chairpersons, both Physiotherapists by profession. The teamwork and skill that each one of the group has to offer contributed to its continued success.
Dinner of Hope Fundraising Dinner and Dance event has been an annual “family get-together” to many as Filipino hospitality and warmth do not fail to touch hearts of its special guests that they mark it in their calendar (though no specific date or venue is given ahead of time). This year marks the 10th year of PWG in its advocacy and disability-related projects to improve the quality of lives of persons with disabilities in the Philippines, contributing 1,000,000 pesos since its inception.
This year’s recipient of Most Admired PWG Member is Ms Charissa Aborot whose brilliant creativity, hardwork and diligence indeed contributed to the success of PWG. To add to the fun, Best Dressed Female and Male Awards are given to Ms Rain Belloza and Efren Encarnacion respectively.
Some of the words of wisdom shared by the distinguished lecturer, Dr Rioux include eye-opening and fresh perspective about disability that instead of treating disability as an illness that needs to be “fixed” or dealt with, let us change the way how we look and treat a person with disability. Disability is about changing our outlook about the persons and their inabilities, that instead of looking at their limitations, we all should look at how we can include them in our community with equal rights in the society.
Rather than segregating or isolating them, they too have the right for fairness and equal opportunity for employment, health and education, who deserve our respect and a chance to enjoy meaningful quality of life. In short, let us transform their lives by enabling them, making it easier for them the best we can in all aspects, that instead of focusing on their difficulties, let us focus on how we can improve our own abilities to communicate and understand them better.
To know more about ICDR: check their websites: http://icdr.utoronto.ca/ and http://icdr.utoronto.ca/our-community/online-hybrid-courses