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A budding collaboration amidst COVID19!

It has been two months since a major turning point came into everyone’s lives. The COVID-19 pandemic is proving to be a humongous global challenge, making more visible the invisible -those who are continuously left behind. As we cope with these trying times, one thing’s for sure—we can and need to cope together. Despite mobility restrictions and heightened physical distancing, people have found ways how they can still continue (or start) working together.

One great example is the collaboration between two organisations in the Philippines: the UP Babaylan, an LGBTI student organisation within the University of the Philippines (and an empowerment grantee) and the Leonard Cheshire Disability Philippines Foundation, Inc. (LCDPFI), an organisation working extensively with people with disabilities and implementing an influencing grant.

Kayla Lapiz, the Linking, Learning and Amplification officer for Voice in the Philippines and Indonesia chatted with Bela and Venus of UP Babaylan and Dr Maureen of LCDPFI. She asked them a couple of questions on how this collaboration developed and the wonderful story behind it!

Supporting our friends with disabilities in the time of COVID-19

This is the title of the infographics series co-developed by UP Babaylan and LCDPFI, inspired by the Disability Sensitivity Training for the two organisations facilitated by LCDPFI.

How did this collaboration start?

UP Babaylan: Hannah, a blind member of UP Babaylan, has been with the organisation for almost two years now. We had noticed that there were some lapses in how some of our members interacted with Hannah. That’s mainly why we held a long-overdue Disability Sensitivity Training Seminar for our members last March 9, 2020. Our speakers were Dr Maureen Ava Mata and other members of LCDPFI, upon recommendation by our members who attended a Voice Linking & Learning event with them. The seminar allowed us to have deeper insights into the struggles of people with disabilities and the intersectionality of our struggles. This campaign was started as an alternative programem for members who were not able to attend the seminar. Hannah was also involved in the creation of the content, but we also decided to partner with other organisations for people with disabilities to ensure that the campaign sensitively represents their community. Hence, our collaboration with LCPDFI and Pinoy Deaf Rainbow.

LCDPFI: We are happy and grateful that UP Babaylan took the initiative for this very well thought infographics. This started when we were able to provide a short training last year during the Voice Linking & Learning event where UP Babaylan representatives were present. On the first week of March, they sent me a private message that they wanted us to give some of their members a disability awareness and sensitivity training.

They sent me an email about these infographics that they already drafted, requesting us to improve the content of the draft and share in our social media channels. Hazel and I commented on it until the first series was posted on their Facebook page with content that was inclusive and accessible.

How was the experience?

UP Babaylan: More than anything, the seminar and the campaign were enlightening for members and subscribers of our page. We’ve recognised that some of our habits weren’t that sensitive and inclusive. Now, we are more careful in our interaction with our friends with disabilities.

LCDPFI: The experience was good and we are really happy that our goal in making an inclusive society is continuously moving, even during this COVID-19 pandemic.

Any plans following this collaboration?

UP Babaylan: It’s part of our mandate to always be inclusive and proactive, especially with other marginalised groups. With this, we had planned on always inviting deaf interpreters to our future webinars and events, and providing all our publicity materials with alternative texts. Our Webinar on SOGIE Equality as a Religious Value in May will feature two deaf interpreters from Pinoy Deaf Rainbow. We also have plans for inviting our previous speakers for another seminar on assisting our friends with disabilities, now geared towards the entire UP student body.

LCDPFI: LCDPFI is always here to assist UP Babaylan and other organisations, duty bearers and other stakeholders in raising awareness regarding disability inclusion.

Below is the rest of the series brought about by this wonderful collaboration!

#InclusionMatters #NoOneLeftBehind #ItStartsWithASpark


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