Christmas came early for Mary Grace Garcia, a Grade 1 pupil of Sta. Clara Elementary School in Sto. Tomas, Batangas as she received her long-awaited wheel chair through the combined efforts of Knowledge Channel Foundation Inc. (KCFI), ABS-CBN Lingkod Kapamilya Foundation Inc. (ALKFI), First Philippine Industrial Park (FPIP), and the Department of Health (DOH).
Mary Grace is unable to walk due to the underdevelopment of her right leg and a twisted left foot. Her mother Gina shared that she caught measles while pregnant with Mary Grace and this she believed caused the physical change. Her mother would usually carry her to school or use an old baby stroller. Though the school was only around two kilometers away, it was a struggle to pass through a very narrow eskinita just to get out of the compound where their makeshift home was built.
LOOK: Mary Grace and her new wheel chair
Despite Mary Grace being differently-abled, she was welcomed whole-heartedly in her school, especially in the class of Teacher Emily Baylon. She was one of the teachers who advocated inclusive learning and constructivism after learning from the school’s echo sessions on LEEP or Learning Effectively Through Enhanced and Evidence-based Pedagogies, KCFI’s teacher training program sponsored by FPIP. Teacher Emily never treated Mary Grace differently from the rest of her pupils. Mary Grace would do the same activities her classmates did, watch Knowledge Channel, and even dance and recite with everyone else.
Teacher Emily noted however, that Mary Grace would soon need a wheel chair as she is starting to outgrow the old baby stroller. With the support of her principal, Ma’am Ma. Theresa Malveda, they reached out to KCFI and ALKFI for Mary Grace’s wheel chair.
WATCH: Excerpt of Mary’s Grace’s Story
In a surprise visit made by KCFI staff and her teacher Teacher Emily and Principal Malveda, a new wheel chair was delivered right at the doorstep of Mary Grace’s home on December 22, 2017.
Mary Grace and her family tearfully expressed their heartfelt thanks as they finally have a new wheel chair for their youngest daughter. Teacher Emily was also in tears when she finally saw Mary Grace sitting on her new wheel chair. “Sa Knowledge Channel, ABS-CBN Lingkod Kapamilya, FPIP, at DOH, isa pong napakalaking pasalamat ang gusto naming ipahatid sa inyo sa pagkakaloob niyo po okay Mary Grace ng isang wheel chair na napakalaking tulong sa kanya na madadala hanggang sa kanyang paglaki,” she said. “Malaking tulong po ito sa pagpunta sa paaralan. Hindi na po mahihirapan ang mommy at daddy niya.”
Mary Grace’s full story will be featured on Kuwentong Ibang Klase this January.
With inputs from Stefhanie Sumaya