Embracing humanity: 'Yakap,' the documentary on children with special needs

There is Kevin Avelino—45-year-old son of divorced mother Lydia Schnabel—who was born with Global Developmental Delay, which causes delayed learning and physical growth. Born to a single parent who initially was in denial, Kevin is proof that special children can grow to become independent adults and useful members of society, having been employed in a variety of jobs, currently working as a teacher’s assistant at a special school in Marikina to which he rides public transportation to and from everyday by himself.

Screengrab from YouTube/Center for Possibilites Foundation Inc

These 3 are well chosen also because there is a member in each of their families who is highly articulate, candid, insightful, and charming who narrates the family's story. For the Aventajados it is blogger Michelle. For the De Quiroz it is housewife Jocelyn. For the Schnabels it is Kevin himself.

The documentary continuously cycles through parallel anecdotes of the Aventajados, the De Quiroz, and the Schnabels, always in that order, highlighting as it does the symmetry as well as the vast differences between their respective experiences. From wealth to poverty, from infancy to middle age, and from single parent to married couples, Yakap  explores the reality of raising a special child in the Philippines today.

Screengrab from YouTube/Center for Possibilites Foundation Inc

“I believe that film is a very compelling medium that allows individual stories to be told. Through Yakap, we are telling stories which need to be heard. We hope to generate awareness about the need to respect the potential and promise of persons with special needs,” reveals Dolores Cheng.

Though authentic and candid, there is nothing rough hewn or amateurish with “Yakap.” Highly polished yet concise like his previous works, “Yakap” exemplifies Añonuevo's deft touch in editing, cinematography, and directing with a film that is tender without being indulgent, confessional without being melodramatic, and real without being harsh.

Screengrab from YouTube/Center for Possibilites Foundation Inc

The film reveals the initial reactions of parents to discovering their child's special needs, how they accepted it, and their apprehensions about a future when they are no longer there for their child, and how they are preparing for this eventuality. From the onset to its very end, Yakap allows audiences to embrace the humanity of these special children and their families.

For special screenings of Yakap, call (+632)7231242 and (+63918)8881759 or visit visit centerforpossibilities.asia. – Rappler.com

Writer, graphic designer, and business owner Rome Jorge is passionate about the arts. Formerly the Editor-in-Chief of asianTraveler Magazine, Lifestyle Editor of The Manila Times, and cover story writer for MEGA and Lifestyle Asia Magazines,Rome Jorge has also covered terror attacks, military mutinies, and mass demonstrations as well as reproductive health, gender equality, climate change, HIV/AIDS and other important issues. He is also the proprietor of Strawberry Jams Music Studio.