Cherwin’s dream – for people with disabilities to have their say!

Stories | February 16, 2024

Cherwin, from the Philippines, was born with a visual impairment. He is a strong advocate for people with disabilities in his community, helping their voices be heard. 
Cherwin is the President of a local Organisation for People with Disabilities (OPD). When he first joined the group, he dreamed of helping the organisation by getting the group members to be more involved in the community and to be included in local government decision-making. 
Yet, it was not all smooth sailing. When he joined the group, many of the members were not interested in attending group meetings, training, and community events. As a result, their meaningful participation in their community remained low.  

“I had difficulties in calling for a meeting since most of the parents and relatives do not want the persons with disability to go out the house. I thought the efforts I make are meaningless.” 

How could Cherwin and the group make a difference if the members were not participating in activities or engaging in their community? He had to come up with ways to motivate them.  
In 2023, Cherwin was invited to participate in a CBM supported project that is helping people with disabilities and other people in vulnerable situations at high risk of disasters, get better involved in the decisions that affect them. Through the project, Cherwin, together with other members of the organisation, participated in a series of training and workshops on how to prepare and cope with disasters and climate change, as well as how to participate in local governance.  
The knowledge Cherwin gained from these trainings gave him the motivation he needed to strengthen his leadership. And so, with new enthusiasm, one of the things Cherwi did to help ensure that the group could participate in local decision-making processes, and be taken seriously, was to register the organisation with the Department of Labor and Employment.  
Cherwin is thankful for the opportunities and guidance the project team has provided him, saying, “I am grateful to the determination of the project team for encouraging and supporting me to strive in giving importance and purpose to the project. This is not just for me, but for this is for all.”   

Mr cherwin holding a microphone and speaking


Image caption: Cherwin, President of a local OPD, fights for the rights of people with disabilities in his community by getting people with disabilities included in local government decision-making processes.  


CBM Australia acknowledges the support of the Australian Government through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP) and thanks our implementing partner. 

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