RBI and PAVIC (Philippines)

Transition Services in the Philippines

From Coming of Age, Perkins Lantern (Spring 2010)

Photo of  a young woman placing portions of food on a plate as part of a lesson in food-service skills in the Philippines



As children grow up, transition programs in Philippines acquaint them with the adult world.

With her very first paycheck, she wanted to buy her grandmother a hamburger. For Yves, 23 years old and visually impaired, it was a simple yet meaningful goal - full of accomplishment, pride and a sense of belonging to the adult world.

Mila Wayno remembers it well. As a rehabilitation specialist for Resources for the Blind in the Philippines, Wayno had worked with the young woman since she was a toddler of 3 years. Yves had grown up with assistance from RBI, and, as a young adult, recently joined the organization’s fledgling transition program – a new program, founded just three years ago, to develop new vocational, social and recreational services for the children who are visually impaired or blind, with multiple disabilities – who were growing up.

“With the first income she got, she said, ‘I will buy a hamburger for my grandmother,’” recalled Wayno. “And she was really very happy when she was buying one.”

Transition programs for adolescents and young adults are a fairly new concept in the Philippines, where basic therapies and services for individuals who are blind and visually impaired are still not easily accessible or affordable. Today, with the help of a two year grant from the United States Agency for International Development, Perkins’ partners RBI and Parent Advocates for Visually Impaired Children, or PAVIC, are working to grow transition programs for these young adults, as well as increase families’ awareness of the possibilities for their children. The goal is to take the services these individuals received as young children – orientation and mobility lessons, selfcare and feeding, or basic communication skills – and to bring them to the next level, so these individuals can strive for a level of independence and happiness and participation in their community as adults.

“Some of our children reach 20 years old and they have never received this kind of service,” said Francis Choy, chairman of the board of trustees for PAVIC. “The parents never know. They just accept what their child can do and what they do not know how to do. But if some proper intervention is being done, the quality of life for their children can really improve.”

PAVIC organizes parents and helps them advocate for their children’s rights to education and services.

“If we do nothing for our children, nothing will happen for them,” he said.