Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Communicating change: A deaf young leader's experience

Advocacy Writer John Silva with SDEAS attendees Dan Lester Perez and Michael Lopez
accompanied by Ms. Bea and Ms. Jamie as interpreters

Voltaire Tupaz


Posted on 03/28/2012 6:56 AM | Updated 03/28/2012 11:52 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Through a sign language interpreter, 20-year-old Dan Lester Perez listens intently to Rappler's multimedia journalist Patricia Evangelista as she speaks about giving voice to the voiceless through storytelling.

Perez, who is taking Applied Deaf Studies in De La Salle - College of Saint Benilde, is one of the dynamic and diverse 40 young leaders who participated in the 4-day seminar Communicating for Social Change that wrapped up on Tuesday, March 27.

The gathering was organized by the British Council, United Kingdom's international organization for educational opportunities and cultural relations, and Rappler, a social news network where stories inspire community engagement and digitally fuelled actions for social change.

Everyone has a story

Upon hearing about the workshop's call for participants, Perez immediately submitted his video application, itself a story of passion and determination.

(Young leader Dan Lester Perez submitted this video application to the British Council and Rappler for the seminar, 'Communicating for Social Change.')

Perez does not consider his hearing impairment as an impediment to telling the story of his community.

"I participated because of the theme. It really touched me to know that I can contribute to change. It could be instrumental in making our advocacy for the deaf community more effective."

Such is the kind of change-maker that the organizers were looking for: driven to effect change and achieve great things not only for themselves, but for their country and the world.

"Everyone has a story. It may not be important to others, but if it's important to you then it's still a good story to tell," Evangelista said in her speech to the select group of young leaders that included Perez.

Sharing insights on why storytelling is important and examples of what makes a good storyteller, Evangelista said, "For us, the trick is imagination. Not ours, yours."


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