- Posted September 21, 2013 by
INNERview: I Matter
The eldest daughter of three girls, Krissy Bisda is visually impaired due to a condition called Retinitis Pigmentosa. When she was a kid, one of her eyes was left with clear vision, but it began to deteriorate when she was about to finish high school. She resides in the Philippines and states, “The Philippines has yet to reach the stage where people take People with Disabilities (PWD) in general as productive citizens and people that are really part of the society who is entitled to rights that a person without disability enjoys. It’s a continuous crusade of ours, but in a way this social concern has been improved over the years.”
Krissy, received her degree in Psychology at Philippine Women’s University. She began pursuing her Master’s degree in Development Communications two years ago, but took some time off.
She’s trained to use her cane and travel around on her own, but says that she’s “not permitted to really go out alone.”
“It’s not safe here for women with visual problems like me to travel independently due to being prone for rape, kidnapping and you can’t trust people that they would really assist you to find your way accurately. Please don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that nobody is kind at all. I think my country is still in the road for PWD acceptance.”
“After college, I was surprised to get a chance to work in an offshore business from United States. I started as an HR Recruitment associate then promoted after 3 years and moved to Marketing communications. After 7 years I finally decided to resign due to very personal reason and I have had variety of jobs which I enjoyed a lot. I wrote a Pre – employment handbook for Job placement officers conducting training for PWD job seekers. I worked as freelance documenter for almost all conferences of Philippine coalition of UNCRPD and landed a full time job at Balsam Brands, (another American owned firm) as a full time independent consultant under HR.”
YVONNE: What age did you learn you had a disability and how were you told?
KRISSY: I knew it by awareness when I was a kid, like 6 or 7, but I felt the real sense of the difficulties and discrimination it brings when I was older. My family didn’t really explain it too formal. We do not talk about it, we rarely do. It’s like, if nobody asks or opens about the topic it will not be discussed, but they are not embarrassed having a child likes me. They never made me feel that I’m a lot different from others. I’m treated very equal/normal, as they would with my other sisters who has no disability. I cannot remember how I knew about it, but as far as I know I’m aware of my disability; but we do not really discuss it piece by piece. It is not a usual topic in breakfasts or in family gatherings. My parents were struggling as well to accept the fact that something is wrong, especially that I’m their first born. They had a different formula as I was growing up. They had been very supportive to my studies, sports and other things while somewhere behind the public, they are trying to adjust and accept my condition. I could not say how hard it is for them or how easy it was for them to go through this experience, for I never seen them look sad or I have never witnessed their actual struggles. Perhaps, they wouldn’t want us to see how they tried to cope up because it would not help me to live normally given the condition I have. I didn’t ask either, I just let it be. It seems like they hid it from me, but it didn’t harm my growing up years.
YVONNE: What do you wish people understood about individuals with disabilities?
KRISSY: I want them to understand the simple logic of diversity. If we are only few among the so called normal ones, then I think it is simple as that of a less popular species of a fish: still a fish which differ perhaps in characteristics or have a very distinctive trait which the normal ones do not have; but in essence, there’s nothing really different at all.
We are not curses to our family, we are not bad luck and most importantly, we never wanted to have a disability if given a choice; we just have to live with this and make ourselves very productive and not a burden to anybody. But thank you for giving us a very challenging environment; we become more determined to excel more than the expectations. We exceed the norms because we believe that winners never quit and quitters never win. We do things differently, but we all arrive in the same output. Persons with disabilities are just like anybody else: we love going out with friends, travel, read books, build a family of our own, get a decent job etc. We are simply like you. I hate the so-called “norms” or “normalcy”; when those without disabilities talk about this, it is drawing a different image that PWDs are not normal at all. I want everybody to know that persons with disabilities do things through an aid of a special software or assistive technique, but at the end of the day, we arrive in the same output as yours with equal or above average quality.
Read this interview in it's entirety at http://hyhonline.wordpress.com/2012/10/11/i-matter