Heroism truly inspires support.
This is the response Ted Ponferrada told his friends and colleagues when they learned of his nomination to Yahoo! Philippines’ Pitong Pinoy 2.0 Awards last month.
“I was surprised to see the (local) media in Albay waiting for me at home for days. I never thought it would spread like wildfire. It’s really overwhelming,” recalls Ted, who was officially named a Pitong Pinoy awardee at the ceremonies in 7th High, Taguig.
“Lots of friends and relatives also came by, saying they would campaign for me to win. I just laughed because heroes don’t do that. It doesn’t work that way,” he adds.
Visually handicapped since he was a child, Ted is in disbelief that his efforts fighting for the rights and welfare of blind people in Albay has finally gained acknowledgment.
“I just told them to let it go and make this run its own course because for me, being nominated is very overwhelming already. (Receiving) this (award) is indeed very touching,” Ted says.
“It's really such a miracle to be one of what they call heroes,” he notes.
As a blind person who had always wanted to join the Filipino practice of reading the “Passion of Christ” during Lenten season, Ted initiated a project that translated the Catholic document into Braille in 2007.
Through the help of Aquinas University rector and philanthropist Ofelia Vega, he was able to print “pabasa” Braille version and spread it across Legazpi City.
The “Passion of Christ,” which is the first Catholic document to ever be printed in Braille in the world, also taught other blind people to read the system in his community and participate in “pabasa”.
Receiving aids and assistance from various politicians and advocacy groups since, Ted managed to expand his project sharing the Braille reading to blind people in Pasay City this year.
“Thermal paper costs P11,000. We sacrificed so much but the product is more than worth it… Last Lenten season, 16 blinds have read with me,” he recalls.
But Ted promises his efforts fighting for the rights of blind people will not end with this recognition.
“This has been the most popular in our events. I fight for other causes. I visit blind people in jail when they get arrested for begging. I teach them how to massage for them to earn a living,” he shares.
“I will continue doing this until everyone recognizes that blindness is not a handicap, it’s a mere inconvenience,” he reiterates.