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Beyond Incapability is a Changed Life

“Kahit ganito kami, may laban din pala kami.”

 Success does not require an able body. It only needs determination to embrace change despite the incapability.

Nora Aminuddin is someone people must take inspiration from not because of how much she has done but IMG_0734because of how much she has become after everything that has been done. She is but an ordinary civilian who works for a living in the busy street of Zamboanga City’s downtown.

With two little children with ages two and three, left with her to feed after sending off her eldest child to marry, Nora has been working hard day and night to supply their needs. She wakes up every morning hoping that one day, things would change and they would have enough resources to go through each day considering the fact that Nora has an orthopedic impairment most commonly classified as Polio. But this does not stop there.

The 9th of September marks the start of the bloody siege that caused the displacement of more than a hundred thousand people. It was at 2:00 in the morning that the city was in chaos and Nora, who was at the downtown that moment was deliberately instructed to go somewhere else as she could not go back to her home in Talon-Talon where she left her children. She told that her kids wanted to go to her but could not because it was simply impossible during that time.

With more soldiers than civilians in the wide streets of the city, Nora panicked, not able to move a muscle. “Hindi ko na alam kung saan ako pupunta kasi gyera na,” she said. The police then told her to go as she was still trying to sell off her goods. They told her to move out and look for a safer place to hide. “Hindi po ako pwedeng umalis kasi hihintayin ko ang mga anak ko,” she added with worries engraved in her eyes.

She forcefully insisted that she would wait for her children. “Kung magtatago po ba ako makikita po ba ako ng mga anak ko?” she asked the officer as she was forced to go. The police even called her family but could barely connect. The moment she was about to go, her children came. They ran all the way from Talon-Talon to where their mother was.

They were transferred to the Joaquin F. Enriquez Memorial Sports Complex (Grandstand) that is big enough to hold a huge number of people. Nora and her children, not including her eldest child who was left in her home at Sta. Catalina, were the first batch of evacuees accommodated in the complex. They received generous help from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) –help in terms of food, finances and more assistance that inspired them to get through the situation.

Since Nora was a PWD, she was brought by by the social workers to Area Vocational Rehabilitation Center (AVRC) after a month of taking refuge in the grandstand. The AVRC provides rehabilitation services for persons with disabilities like Nora Aminuddin. There are lots of things offered and taught to her in the AVRC; lessons on sign language to enable better communication with the deaf, mutual cooperation and connection with their co-PWDs, learning on how to boost self-esteem and how to protect themselves and also training in garments and other handy works.

 She was taught to be confident and never be shy despite her impairment because PWDs are also part of the society. “Kaya tumatag ang loob namin. Kahit ganito pala kami, may silbi din pala kami,” Nora said with joy in her face. She also added that after graduating in the AVRC, she would see to it that she would have a home-based livelihood so that she could also watch her children. “Kahit sa bahay lang ako, pwede kong mabantayan ang maliit kong anak. Takot na rin ako dahil sa nangyari dati,” she said emphasizing the fact that it is best for her to stay guarded.

Nora is now an empowered individual who managed to get on her feet and through her hardwork and a little help coming from the government. She said DSWD helped her open a door to new things that would she never thought could change her life for the better. “Nagpapasalamat ako sa kanila kasi dahil sa kanila nabago ang buhay ko. Kahit papano tumatag ang loob ko,” she added. Because of the assistance she got, she now looks at herself differently and that she now has hope. “Dati nagtatago lang kami at nahihiya sa mga taong walang kapansanan, ngayon kahit pagtawanan kami, hindi na kami mahihiya dahil mayroon kami na wala sila,” Nora ended it with a big smile and a light heart. A changed life is more than just a twisted fate.

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