A journey to a thousand miles may not necessarily just start with the proverbial one step, but with a strong supportive touch from a loved one, like a parent or a mentor. Maribeth was a young girl when she first took to the art brush in elementary school. Wackie loved the colors of paint and was always eager to bring to creative life the people and places around him. Juan used to be impatient with his own paintings, withdrawing when he did not the results he wanted
Maribeth, Wackie, and Juan are all artists now. Their oil portraits of animals, Mother Nature, and happy families continue to capture the sight — and the patronage — of the art lovers and the curious public who see them. What makes their achievements all the more impressive is that all three artists are Persons with Disabilities. Maribeth is deaf, and both Wackie and Juan have been diagnosed with autism.
Their artistic capabilities are solid, first-hand evidence that supports the current advocacy of Southstar Drug (SSD) to “drop the prefix” as far as Persons with Disabilities are concerned. As SSD General Manager Christine Tueres describes this campaign, “It is time to remove the prefix ‘dis—’ and focus on the abilities.”
Established in partnership with the Project Inclusion Network (PIN), the “Drop the Prefix” campaign aptly and eloquently makes its case right before Christmas. As the year ends, their artworks will be made available to the public as illustrations for calendars and bags. Gift-givers looking for holiday giveaways can find and buy them from SSD branches all over the Philippines.
Every peso that is earned through that avenue will go into the pockets of the Persons with Disabilities. Maribeth could not be happier. As she said in Filipino in sign language, “I am grateful for this opportunity. The money I make pays for household expenses like the electric bills. Doing artwork that people love and are willing to pay for shows that I can help my family and fulfill their needs.”
During the past two years that Wackie has been growing his skills, his attention span has become longer and more focused. Patience also replaced frustration as he succeeded in drawing and fleshing out the images of his favorite animals.
Gavin de Guzman, Juan’s father discloses that Juan at one time was an employee in a corporate setting, and hints that, given the right opportunity, he can be employed as one again. But for now, Juan is focused singularly on his art, which is something he clearly loves.
With the Drop the Prefix campaign, Southstar Drug, Project Inclusion Network and Goodwill Industries have joined forces to help create a space for Persons with Disability to realize their potential, earn a living, and enhance their skills by providing them with educational opportunities.