Stories on Inclusive Education

The Conference uses the power of stories to explore inclusive quality education. Below are  stories of how those in the margins achieved success in their fight for inclusive education.


Princess Warrior For Peace. Growing up in a wealthy family did not stop Rohaniza Sumndad-Usman from pursuing peace-building works. She is the founder of “Teach Peace, Build Peace Movement” which molds youth from different cultures and groups to work together and build a culture of peace.

EMB(E)TTERED. Wrongly detained for a fraternity brawl in 1995, Raymund E. Narag turned his life around and returned to prison with a PhD in Criminal Justice to fix the prison system.

The Courage To Learn And Teach. Sr. Francelina Ximenes Freitas is a missionary from the Canossian Daughters of Charity, Servants of the Poor. She taught and guided the East Timorese youth during the conflicts with the Portuguese and Indonesian conquerors.

From Darkness To Brightness. Due to his blindness, Kamal Lamichanne was not able to go to school until he was 12. But now, he is a researcher at Japan International Cooperation (JICA), focusing on identifying and remediating barriers for people with disabilities.

Getting High On God And Life. From a drug addict who was in and out of prison and rehabilitation programs, Fr. Robert “Bobby”dela Cruz now heads a community-based rehabilitation program that encourages drug dependents to surrender, rehab, and start anew.

Tilling The Seedbed: Co-creating Pathways To IP Education. Benjamin Abadiano is the first Filipino to win the Ramon Magsaysay Emergent Leadership Award in 2004 for establishing the Tugdaan Center for Mangyans, an education and development institution managed by Mangyan leaders.

The Igtaman, Igniting Pride Among Panay Bukidnon. Jesus Catigan Insilada is widely recognized by multiple award-giving bodies for his innovation and creativity in using recycled and indigenous materials for teaching, and integrating local culture to the curriculum.

Limitless Possibilities Beyond My Physical Limitations. Rex Bernardo was five when he was diagnosed with polio—he was not sent to school until he was 19. Now, he is one of the founding members of the Philippine Network for Inclusive Education.

A Young Farmer's Dream. Elnard Ympal is a proof that passion and hardwork goes a long way. Despite their financial difficulties, he persevered to enroll in an agricultural vocational course. He is now a nationally recognized farmer and an inspiration to other youth and farmers.

Healing And Advocacy Through Education. A counsellor, educator, and women’s advocate, Prescilla Tulipat transformed her pain and trauma to courage and healing. Through her women and development work, she hopes each person is able to overcome the harshness of life and see them smiling once again.

Keeping The Fire Burning For SPED.  Jupiter Petilla recognizes his responsibility as a school leader to be inclusive to all learners. His massive disability awareness campaign led parents to accept and believe that all children have the right to be included in regular classrooms.

A Place For Everybody. Former DepEd Undersecretary for Programs and Projects Dina Ocampo was already a teacher when she found out that she is dyslexic. But she never felt disabled throughout her school years, which she attributed to her well-trained and dedicated teachers.

Nobody Should Ever Be Left Behind. From a low point in her teaching career, Gertrude Niles picked herself up by teaching and spreading a reading innovation in their island of Carriacou. Her experience is a proof that when structure is in place, it empowers people to blossom naturally even under stress and discouragement.

Seriously Fun Learning. As a school leader, Dianna Gutierrez believes in following a child-centered approach in schools—allowing children to be truly children.

A Teacher In Prison. Irene Barzaga is assigned to teach in one of the most crowded jails in the Philippines. There, she has touched and transformed a lot of lives—she gave the prisoners a sense of freedom to hope and dream more.

The Elephant Chaser's Daughter. Born in a social underclass in India, Shilpa Anthony Raj deviated from the norms and went under a transformative education and modern upbringing through Shanti Bhavan. She is now a counsellor, teacher, author, and an advocate for quality education for the poor.

Standing Tall For The Aeta Community. When the Aeta community was displaced during the explosion of the Mt. Pinatubo, Mang Carling Dumulot is one of those who led in rebuilding their lives and culture. Through their establishment of LAKAS High School, they were able to teach their young ones of the Aeta values and culture.

Touching The Hearts Of India's Untouchable Children. Abraham George reflected his vision for alleviating poverty and social injustice in founding Shanti Bhavan—a non-profit organization that operates a pre-K-12 residential school in India which give poor kids the education they need, as well as boarding, meals, clothing, and medical care.

Put Me In A Regular Classroom. Born with cerebral palsy, Sarah Jane dela Rosa proved to be a voice that can help bring the vision of inclusive education for learners with disabilities to reality.

The Home Where Peace Begins. A painful episode gave Charlito ‘Kaloy’ Manlupig an inspiration to put up Balay Mindanaw together with a few of his golden friends. It is an organization that supports the land rights of the farmers. From a house that volunteers built, it is now a home of volunteers who wanted to transform Mindanao towards equity, development, and peace.

Homeless But Not Hopeless. Luisa Yu led the DepEd Region VIII in rebuilding the schools that Typhoon Yolanda brought down in 2013. Recognizing the urgency to resume class as soon as possible, the regional office promoted school feeding, gave out hygiene kits, and led clean up operations.

Mothers Make The Best Teacher. Witnessing the plight of undocumented immigrants in Sabah, Lynette dela Cruz-Tupas started a learning center for mothers to teach their own children. From being plain housewives, the mothers have risen to become the pillars of the community.

I Wanted To Be A Doctor, But Teaching Is Better. Jonathan Bayogan used to dream of being a medical doctor, but instead he found himself in Mindanao, as a president of a state college, pushing for the education of the IPs.

Shodini--A Quest For Freedom. Sonali Tongare challenged the norms in their village by becoming a Shodini—a researcher, seeking and learning more about her fellow girls. Conducting a youth-led action research on girls’ education helped the Shodinis in their village to make their own identity and gain the respect of the community.

Twin Teachers Of The Poor. Sri Irianingsih and Sri Rossyati are twins—twin teachers, too. Despite being well-off, their father inspired them to teach children and later on, founding Sekolah Darurat Kartini—a school that teaches impoverished children from the streets.