My professional background is in special education. I worked as a learning support teacher for five years. My teaching career wasn’t long as we moved over seas and I now stay with the children full time but my heart is will always hold a sweet spot for those with special needs.
For over a year now Michelle and I have bonded over a number of common interests ranging from being long term expats, motherhood, cooking and also a soft sport for those with disabilities. Michelle and Nino are parents to four children and their last being a spunky little four year old with Down syndrome, Gelli. Guys, I am not even kidding. This girl knows what “OOTD”s are and how to pose for them. Its pretty epic. I thank my lucky stars our paths have crossed because I have been so loved and uplifted by Mich. Last week, I was able to view a special project her and her family are a part of. Yakap is a documentary produced by the Center For Possibilities to help inform Filipino communities that all lives are full of possibilities, even those who look different than you and I. The intention of Yakap is to help change the stigma that those with disabilities should be hidden or restricted. Instead, Yakap shows how to empower these individuals and makes specific use of these individual to helper better our lives and theirs.
Yakap showed how three different families with special needs children experience life. It discussed their hopes and dreams for each child. It covered hard ships, physically emotionally and financially. Some parts of the film where hard to watch as you could see the desperation in one fathers eyes. The extra work and care these families go through is unseen by almost all of us. Despite the hardships, there was so much hope. Kevin, the oldest individual with special needs is a vessel of hope and light. He works as an aid at a school for those with disabilities, he takes the MRT and bus to work each day and runs clerical errands. He is incredible and self sufficient. He believed in himself because those around him did too because of this he has accomplished greatness.
Just a few thoughts from the press kit of Yakap:
What is “Yakap”?
The film “Yakap” shows a day in the lives of three people: Evangeline “Gelli” Aventajado, a 4-year-old with Down Syndrome; Aaron Joshua “AJ” De Quiroz, an 8-year-old with epilepsy, Autism, and Global Developmental Delay; and Kevin Avelino, a 45-year-old with Global Developmental Delay.
The stories are told from the points of view of their parents. We did not have a script for the film, everything that you will see is natural and unplanned.
More than a film, we are presenting profiles of true courage. First, courage of the children whose disabilities are the only reality they have ever known and who live their lives the only way they know how, in spite of curious stares, pointing fingers, and hidden smiles. Second, the courage of parents and family members who may have grown up thinking normal was everything but ended up learning that different can be the new normal.
Who are the people behind the film?
I produced the film on behalf of The Center for Possibilities (CFP) Foundation. Danny Añonuevo directed it while Jessie Lasaten composed the music. The post production color grading was done by Issa Gonzalez.
How long is the film?
The film runs for a total of 56 minutes. The film proper is around 54 minutes and it is capped off by a music video with lyrics that I wrote and music by Charo Unite.
Why is the film entitled “Yakap”?
The vision and mission of The Center for Possibilities Foundation revolves around inclusion, having a compassionate society that includes persons with special needs into the mainstream population. How best to include them than in an embrace? CFP envisions a society wherein embracing our differences becomes normal, a society that embraces (yakap in Filipino) every individual into the larger community of man, regardless of ability.
What lessons will the viewers learn from watching “Yakap”?
Disability recognizes no boundaries. It can happen to anyone regardless of their class, religion, and gender.
Parents are an important pillar and component of each special person’s journey because they are the backbone of their lives. At the end of the day, the parents are the ones who will have to take care of the children through their lifetime. The children cannot exist without the parents. And that’s the fear of every parent, who will take care of my child when I’m gone?
There is hope. Kevin is a teacher’s assistant in a Marikina special school; AJ is a scholar of a special school in Muntinlupa and now has two siblings who are typical children being taught by their parents to look after their kuya. Gelli is a very happy and lovely child and the parents have taken her continued happiness as their constant objective.
If you know of a community, school or organization that would benefit form viewing Yakap please contact Center For Possibilites.
The Center for Possibilities, Inc.
Amaris II Bldg., 915 Luna Mencias st.,
Addition Hills, Mandaluyong City 1552
Tel No.: 723-1242