by Justin Gonzales, KL-YES Alumnus

After my YES Program, I have worked on accomplishing not only for my own good, but also for the honor and pride of my school and my home country. I decided that after my YES Program, I would continuously encourage Deaf students, like me, to apply for a Program that can surely leave a huge impact on them. For me, I know that the program have changed me a lot – I learned to take risks and to embrace challenges. ?

In fact, just a few months ago, my teacher asked me if I could join the National IT challenge and told me that I was chosen to represent our country in India. Chosen youth with disabilities from 18 countries including UAE, UK, and South Korea will be present as well. At first, I was hesitant to take the challenge, but I was reminded of my YES Experience which convinced me to join and prove that I am strong and proud of what I have achieved so far.

I joined and eventually won the National IT Challenge. I was able to represent the Philippines along with our team members who were also able to bring 5 medals (2
golds, 2 silvers and 1 bronze) to the Philippines. Not only it was about achievement, but was also about embracing our true selves, overcoming our disabilities and finding our hidden skills.

Despite being Deaf, I believe that no disability will hinder us for making us stronger and proud of who we are. Being a PWD, I know that no one shall be left behind, for we are all empowered people who face a lot of challenges in life and yet we eventually find unique ways on how to overcome them.