As They See the World through Their Fingertips
MANILA, Philippines - In March this year, top photographer and prime mover of Photography with a Difference (PWD) John K. Chua invited 31 visually-impaired children and their families to the Manila Zoo for an experience of their lifetime. A group of select photographers were also invited to trail the kids as they were guided to feel and learn about the animals through their sense of touch.
"The children were overwhelmed and the excitement was all over their faces. This is a day they would never forget. This is also true for the parents. When our children are happy, we are very happy," shares Linda Choy, executive committee member of Parent Advocates of Visually Impaired Children (PAVIC). Children of parents from the Resources for the Blind, Inc, also participated in the activity.
Throughout 2010, PWD has been holding photography workshops, mainly involving children with special needs. Under the leadership of John K. Chua, photography enthusiasts are challenged to touch people's lives through photography. Different camera clubs thus gather to interact with children with special needs and eventually produce tender, affecting, touching photos that many will remember for a long, long time.
"If only we can capture that fleeting moment of happiness, and freeze that moment forever. Maybe it will comfort the parents of these children in their moments of despair,'' Chua explains of his outstanding work on PWD.
The resulting works from that day at the zoo were then put up in an exhibit last May at SM North EDSA, aiming to create awareness about people with special needs. "The exhibit drew a big crowd. Many were teary-eyed as they viewing the photos. Many offered to help. Some even offered to donate," recalls Linda.
It was because of this warm reception by the general public that the people behind PAVIC realized the importance of raising awareness about the visually-impaired.
"If in a span of two weeks during the course of the exhibit, we got so much moral support from the general public, how much more if we could have a calendar where people could see in their offices everyday - it could be very thought-provoking," Linda reasons out.
The idea for the PAVIC 2011-2010 calendar was thus born.
The 12-page table top calendar features 24 poignant photographs, taken with much love, by 31 volunteer photographers. The calendar also has a page that contains a special message "As they see the world through their fingertips" in Braille, as well as a Braille chart to familiarize people with raised dots in the Braille system. …