BATU, Indonesia. Photo by Jes Aznar

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

independent living

Let me share with you the story of my best friend, Joon. I met him many years ago in JASMS. We were in sixth grade then. We started as enemies. I considered him the kind of classmate whom you get very pissed at for no particular reason. Years passed, however, and we became really good friends. We filled each other's younger days -- from the clubs, parties, concerts (we rocked with the Pearl Jam) to the sentimental heartbroken episodes that each of us went through. It was the kind of friendship that made one forget the passing of time, the curfews and the ticking of the wee hours of the morning.

Something changed, however, not too long ago. Joon met an accident one fateful day in 1998. He is now paralyzed from the neck downwards, pinned to the bed 24/7 because the accident killed more than half of his body. He needs at least two people to sit him on a wheel chair and always, at least one person to help him do the simplest things -- turning on the computer, preparing his meal, grooming his hair, brushing his teeth and even smoking. He can no longer do things on his own.

But despite all this, I never saw Joon -- not once -- bear a disabled being's soul. He remains the strong, forceful individual that I know.

And he continues to live life to the fullest, trying the best he could to live independently. But he needs help. He is inviting us to help him and others in similar situations in whatever way we can.

Read on:

Dear Sir/Madam,

The Life Haven, Inc. (LHI) is a non-profit organization with a mission to establish Independent Living Centers in the Philippines in order to promote the Independent Living Philosophy. The Independent Living Philosophy started in the USA in the early 70’s. The ideology of independent living is to inculcate in persons with severe/non severe disability/disabilities a sense of value of getting over and adapting to our disabilities and to be independent by practicing self-choice, self-determination and self-responsibility.

The Independent Living Concept was introduced to the Philippines by the Human Care Association of Tokyo. Members of Life Haven, Inc. have attended seminars and had undergone intensive training regarding the Independent Living Philosophy.

One of the services provided by an Independent Living Center is Peer Counseling, a service that aims to restore the sense of self-worth and re-establish the self-confidence of a person with disability (PWD).

In this regard, LHI will conduct a series of peer counseling seminars and workshops to empower fellow persons with disabilities with the concepts of independent living and the services of peer counseling for us to become service providers to other persons with disabilities instead of being just merely its recipient.

In this light, we would like to solicit for your kind support in whatever contribution payable to Life Haven, Inc. to help us defray the expenses in the implementation of this worthy undertaking. Help us realize our objective to enhance self-acceptance and dignity of persons with disabilities and help us live more independently in a manner dictated by our abilities, not our limitations.

One last request. Please forward this email to your friends and relatives for they also might want to help in this endeavor of ours. We will greatly appreciate this simple gesture.
Thank you very much and we highly anticipate your favorable response regarding this matter.

Very truly yours,

Joon G. Baltazar, Jr.
Public Relations Officer

Noted by:
Abner N. Manlapaz
President, Life Haven Inc.
Board Member, AKAP-PINOY
Council Member, National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC) - PWD Sector
Chairman, Independent Living Committee of NAPC – PWD Sector
Tel. Nos.: +63 2 4569819/ +63 928 2769513

Life Haven Incorporated is an organization duly registered at the Securities and Exchange Commission on July 7th, 2005 with Company Registration Number CN200511789
For your donations:

For donors in the Philippines
Please deposit your donations in favor of:
Account name: LIFE HAVEN INC.
Account number: 590078348
BANCO de ORO, Potrero-Malabon