Sis Pha shared her experience through a group activity called Peer Support Group, initiated by FEPD, to provide an exchange of experience forum among disabled people with similar disabilities. They will take turns talking about their stories, perspective of living a life, which are specifically direct experience, such as having a love experience, building a family for the disabled, etc. Everyone takes turns as both speaker and listener.
Such activities help inspire members to apply each friend’s stories and approaches to their own lives. From these specific experiences like in this group, if one has never faced with a disability, it would be hard for them to understand and realize these valuable experiences.
UNFPA Thailand Country Office presses priority on youth leadership in demanding their sexual and reproductive health and rights to be protected and their accessibility to such services with special focus on the problem of teenage pregnancy. In 2014, UNFPA has awarded the grants to 15 Civil Society Organizations (CSOs).
The purpose of these grants is for capacity development activities that will enable the CSOs to function as the supporter of future youth-led initiatives on the prevention of teenage pregnancy and/or the promotion of sexual and reproductive health and rights of young people.
Foundation for Empowerment
by Daranpon Timnikai
Foundation for Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities
“Refusal to be easily discouraged or to give up effortlessly should result in the road to achieving our dream.” Sis Pha … a girl with post-polio syndrome since the age of 8 months, shared her stories and experiences of living on disability with patience and relentlessness to obstacles. Moreover, she even has an unwavering commitment to become a government officer, building up a security for herself and her family, which is also a dream of many others.
Sis Pha or Mrs. Jirapha Piyaphaniphan, aged 56, had the opportunity to attend a workshop on sexual and reproductive health for people with disabilities, arranged by the Foundation for Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (FEPD). During a small group seminar, she told the fellow participants her valuable experience in living her life from little until grownup as if she were handled with kid gloves. As a girl with a disability, unable to walk, she had to do routine chores in a wheelchair only. Just being female would make your parents worry and be overprotective more than being a boy already. When this was added up with the disability, even more concerns, attention, and cares were given to you. But that was only because of a petite reason called “love”, so Sis Pha simply accepted and well understood her own condition. Therefore, she was not demanding, resistant, nor persistent, but she behaved responsibly in working hard to acquire knowledge and improve her capacity to be as equal as other people in general.
Sis Pha tried assiduously to pursue her dream, becoming a government officer. Although she had failed the civil servant recruitment test for five times, she never gave up. In the last exam, she told herself that if she could not get good news from this test, she would never come back to take it again. She spent time attentively to defeat that exam and her efforts paid off eventually. She received a letter informing her successful application for the position of government official, level five, at the Department of Public Works and Town Planning. She could finally take care of herself and her family. This is the result of her patience and relentlessness to obstacles in the first step in terms of occupation.
“I am proud to be a part of the work with honor and dignity. To be a civil servant working for people. To be benevolent to public just like other people,” said Sis Pha proudly in the seminar.
Even if she became successful in her career, already creating security for herself, as a woman, being in love, getting married, meeting the loving and understanding right man, and even building the future together were all natural that even she, herself, could not refuse. When she came into her reproductive age, Sis Pha also did not experience a love story just like others did. Even so, she was casual about it and told herself, “if I am to have one, it will come to find me on its own.” She still lived her cheerful and lively life and was happy with her daily living. Until one day, she was destined to meet a physically challenged man, by an introduction of a friend. She and the man had tried to date and grow a relationship. Then they both found that they were happy together and complement each other perfectly. No matter how far they were apart, she did not feel tired to make a trip to see him. Yet, her life was not that happy or smooth. She faced with an obstacle, which was a challenging test again. But this time it was her love story…where the family’s love and care became a wall separating them from each other.
When her parents did not agree that Sis Pha should have a love experience because they believed that no one would sincerely love their child and give a good care as well as they did, she became really sorrowful and discomfort about this. Then again, as she was not easily discouraged by the obstacles, Sis Pha continued to see her lover to fill joy and encouragement to each other, with their endeavors that they still loved each other even if their parents and families were opposed to the love of the disabled persons. Eventually, the couple decided to let their parents know their true identities. And even if the parents were not satisfied, the couple decided to get married and legally registered as husband and wife. After that, the parents and the family members started to love and understand the couple, until today.
Sis Pha shared her experience through a group activity called Peer Support Group, initiated by FEPD, to provide an exchange of experience forum among disabled people with similar disabilities. They will take turns talking about their stories, perspective of living a life, which are specifically direct experience, such as having a love experience, building a family for the disabled, etc. Everyone takes turns as both speaker and listener. Such activities help inspire members to apply each friend’s stories and approaches to their own lives. From these specific experiences like in this group, if one has never faced with a disability, it would be hard for them to understand and realize these valuable experiences.
Group Captain Sathitpong Athiphiromsi, President of FEPD, concluded what they have learned from the project that despite its merely short time, he, himself, and all of the participants realized that the value of love can make a real difference to families, community and society.
“Today, we have proved that love is beautiful, valuable, nondiscriminatory and inclusive of everyone. No matter he or she is disabled or not,” said Gp. Capt. Sathitpong.