The Special Education Network in Asia (SENIA), launched by a group of international schoolteachers based in China in 2001 and a network of educators, professionals and parents across Asia, has recognized the efforts of persons and institutions based on nominations by educators, organizations and the general public in SENIA Awards 2017.
SENIA is given to those who have advocacies that benefit individuals with special learning needs.
The SENIA Advocacy Awardee for 2017 is Rhodora Palomar Fresnedi, executive director of Unilab Foundation Philippines. She pioneered the Project Inclusion, which enables wider employment for Persons with Disabilities (PWDs).
Ana Kristina Arce, a graduate of De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde, a teacher and researcher, and a scholar of Gallaudet University—an institute of higher learning dedicated to the deaf —was cited for the prestigious award. Her graduate research on “Deaf Gain in the Philippines” promoted employability of the deaf in a dominant hearing world.
She later founded the Development and Accessibility Fund for the Deaf, an NGO focused on developing self-reliant and independent Deaf Filipinos through sourcing and managing funds.
The SENIA Student Award, which searches for exceptional students with disabilities who champion inclusive causes in the region, is Casey Stevenson of Brent International School.
Casey struggled with depression and anxiety, and was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. She has raised awareness through public speeches, volunteerism in workshops and seminars, lectures and presentations.
Sohankumar Motwani, a BS Information Systems student from the De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde received an honorary citation for the SENIA Student Award.
Despite the difficulties of transitioning from being a sighted person to blindness having lost his eyesight in high school, Motwani adjusted well to the situation with the support of his family and friends. He continued his studies and performs excellently.
The ceremonies for this year’s awards was held on Feb. 10 at Yokohama International School, in Japan.
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