MANILA, Philippines – Nothing is impossible as the saying goes, and this adage rings true for a young Filipina who is one of the 30 students given the chance to study in the US.
In a GMA news report, Melaniel V. Vecina, was picked from the 8,000 applicants, and although she is blind, she ranked first among the applicants who are not disabled and will soon be going to New York to study come August by virtue of the scholarship she earned from Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange & Study (YES) program.
According to Vecina, “Isang napakalaking karangalan po na i-represent yung blind community. Alisin na po ‘yung perception na lahat ng disabled [ay] sa bahay lang.” (It is an honor to represent the blind community. Let us erase the perception that all disabled should just stay at home.)
Report says that at the age of six she lost her sight due to infection.
Her mother Carmencita Vecina said, “Nung una, talagang napaka-depressing. ‘Di namin inaasahan kasi napaka-healthy na bata. Kung ako ‘yun baka nawalan na ako ng pag-asa.” (At first it was really very depressing. We didn’t expect that since she was a very healthy child. If I was in that situation, I would have lost hope.)
The young Vecina excelled in every endeavor she’s been into as shown by the collections of medal she earned. In 2014, she won in the history quiz competition sponsored by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) and the National Council on Disability Affairs (NCDA).
Her disability did not hinder her from doing household chores and taking care of her siblings which makes her more admirable.
According to her she idolizes Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago. And with the scholarship she earned, she wants to pursue her ambition which is to become a lawyer.
Having in mind other persons with disabilities, she said, “Mas maipaglaban ko pa po ‘yung karapatan namin na mga persons with disabilities.”( I can fight for the rights of persons with disabilities.)
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