Department of Education

Everything possible for young campus journalist with no hands and feet

Chloe Canivel

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Everything possible for young campus journalist with no hands and feet
Kim Guanzon, a Grade 10 student in Negros Occidental, was born with no hands and feet. But this did not stop her from winning the editorial cartooning category in their Division Schools Press Conference.

MANILA, Philippines — A photo of a girl with no hands sketching is currently making its rounds on social media and all the fuss is not just because of her artwork. Netizens are raving because, despite her disability, the young girl emerged a winner during their recent Division Schools Press Conference (DSPC), a competition for campus journalists.

Sixteen-year-old Kim Guanzon, a Grade 10 student from Bulanon Farm School in Negros Occidental, was sketching her contest piece during the DSPC in their province, when netizen Rene Jun Gasper took a photo of her on May 19. Gasper later posted it on his Facebook account.

Gasper shared Kim’s talent to the world because he said he was amazed by her determination to overcome extreme difficulty and excel despite her disability.

Hindi ito naging hadlang. Sa halip, ito pa ang naging daan para ipakita sa lahat na ang tulad niya ay kayang mangibabaw at magtagumpay…. Magsisilbing salamin si Kim sa lahat ng mga bata na magpakita ng husay at kagalingan sa paaralan dahil ang mga recognition o parangal na tintanggap nila ang tanging bagay na maari nilang maibalik sa suporta at pagsasakripisyo ng kanilang pamilya,” said Gasper.

(It did not serve as a hindrance for her. Instead, it became the way to show that people like her can rise to the top and succeed…. Kim serves as an inspiration for all kids to work hard and try their best in school because the recognition and achievements they get are ways of giving back to the support and sacrifice their families make.)

Guanzon’s hard work paid off as she bagged the first place in the Editorial Cartooning category of the Negros Occidental DSPC because of her entry that portrayed the pertinent problems of the country.

The DSPC is part of a qualifying competitions for campus journalists all over the country organized by the Department of Education. The culmination of this competition in the National Schools Press Conference (NSPC).

The DSPC gives students the opportunity to showcase their talents while recognizing the role journalism played in building a socially-conscious nation. (READ: What campus journalists can do to strengthen their role as community watchdogs)

No hands? No problem

Guanzon, born with no hands and feet, has been drawing since she was six. She started by drawing flowers one day. Her parents immediately recognized her talent and encouraged her to pursue it. From then on, it became something she did often for fun.

Nowadays, she especially loves to draw faces and houses, while incorporating shading techniques in her artwork. She has also joined a number of drawing contests throughout her elementary and high school years — thanks to the guidance and support she has always had from her teachers and family.

EARLY START. Kim drawing as a Grade 2 student. Photo from Kim Guanzon.

When asked what exactly inspired her to draw, Guanzon said: “Yung family, guro, at mga mag-aaral po na nagsusupporta sa akin… dahil sila yung naniwala sa aking kakayahan. Malaking pasasalamat ko sa kanila lalo na po sa Panginoon dahil binigyan niya ako ng ganitong talento.”

(My family, teachers, and classmates who support me… because they are the ones who believe in my capabilities. I am very grateful to them, especially to God, because he gave me a talent like this.)

As an artist with disabilities, Guanzon often struggles as it takes her a longer period of time to complete her piece compared to others. Nonetheless, she takes this opportunity as a challenge that allows her to further hone her craft.

Minsan marami akong mga mali or erasure, pero kapag pinagigihan ko sa pagpraktis ay mas na-iimprove yung pag drawing ko. Kaya ito rin yung isa sa paraan ko upang hindi ako mahihirapan… pinagsikapan ko talaga at pinagigihan sa pag practice hanggang makabisado ko na yung iguguhit ko,” she said.

(Sometimes I have a lot of mistakes or erasures, but when I am patient enough to practice, I am able to improve my drawing. This is also another way to make it easier for myself… I work hard and be patient with practicing until I am able to master what I am drawing.)

Despite her physical challenges, Guanzon would like to be an inspiration to the people with the same situation as her, and to show that people can use the blessings they are given to pursue their passions.

Ipagpatuloy po nila yung gusto nilang gawin at huwag po mahiya na ipakita yung kanilang talento at gamitin sa tama. Huwag po silang sumuko sa kanilang mga pangarap sa buhay dahil nandyan po yung Panginoon upang tulungan tayo. At nandyan rin yung pamilya natin at mga taong patuloy na sinusuportahan tayo,” she said.

(They should keep doing what they want to do, and they shouldn’t be ashamed to show their talents and put it to good use. They should not give up on their aspirations in life because God is there to help. And our families and loved ones are there to support us also.)

However, her journey is not easy. When asked about her challenges in pursuing this passion, Guanzon said she wished she had the financial resources to buy more art materials. “Yun din po yung kulang sa akin, yung mga art materials po para mas mag improve yung skills sa pagdraw at matry din yung ibang style sa pag drawing po.”

(That’s what I’m missing, art materials, so that I could improve my skills in drawing and I could try other styles as well.)

She also hopes that the community and government could provide more support and aid to persons with disabilities.

“Ang tulong na maaaring ibigay ng government sana sa mga ibang PWD ay yung mga pangangailangan po nila lalo na sa kanilang mga disabilities na mayroon sila tulad po ng mga wheelchairs at iba pang maaring makakatulong para mapabuti po yung kanilang kalagayan.”

(The government could help other people by providing them with what they need given their disabilities, like wheelchairs and other equipment that could best improve the quality of their lives.)

When she grows up, Guanzon wishes to become an architect, as she hopes to build a home for her family some day.

She will be representing Negros Occidental in the 2023 Regional Schools Press Conference in June. –

Chloe Canivel is a Rappler volunteer from Ateneo de Manila University. She recently graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology.

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