She was six years old when she lost her eye sight, a side effect of an over-the-counter drug that her doctor prescribed. If being born blind is hard, it’s probably harder to lose your eyesight because you would know what you would be missing.
It took her two years to adjust to her condition. Her eyes couldn’t handle light, even just a little bit of it. Thus, her family had to put dark curtains in her room. Her brother, supportive as they were, took turns in reading to her using a candle.
After two years, this little girl decided to face the world and go to school again. Too bad, the schools she chose weren’t very accommodating. One reason was because of lack of Special Education Teachers then. Finally, one school accommodated her.
It’s challenging to be blind. I guess it’s even more challenging to be discriminated and looked down just because you’re handicapped — as was her experience with one of her teachers. But this girl was brave, bright, and creative. To catch her teacher’s attention, whenever her teacher talked to her either in Tagalog or English, she would answer in straight English. Soon, she became famous in their school as the “Ingleserang Bulag” or in English, “the English-speaking blind.”
Fast forward to about two decades later. She gave a two-hour talk (or speech) in front of some 15,000 people. She brought the house down. She made the audience laugh, cry, smile, be inspired… Take note, she didn’t have any notes! 🙂 (If you’re a speaker or you’ve had experience speaking in front of a large audience for more than 10 minutes, it’s quite a challenge not to have notes or cue cards)
After her speech, the 15,000 people from SM Mall of Asia Arena gave her a standing ovation. She shared the stage with none other than one of the most sought-after speakers (my personal favorite) Bo Sanchez. The two of them were the main speakers during Day 1 AM of the largest learning event in the country called Kerygma Conference 2012.
Her name is Roselle Ambubuyog.
When she graduated from high school, she was number one among the 1,400 students in that school.
She took the Ateneo Entrance Exam and she got a perfect score in Math!
After a few days, Ateneo de Manila called her up and invited her to pursue college there. Ateneo told her, “tell us what you need and we’ll buy everything for you.”
She graduated as Summa Cum Laude in Ateneo de Manila University batch of 2011. Her course? B.S. Mathematics!
Yes, we’re talking about the same girl who got blind at the age of six and who remains blind until today.
Whew! Let’s take a moment to imagine. Math involves lots of graphs… Science subject involved some laboratory work. How could she have done it?! Roselle is a real genius, a true inspiration! 🙂
Yes, Roselle may be blind but she could see the beauty of life. She knows how to focus on what she has, rather than what’s lacking.
Here were other interesting things about Roselle that blew me away:
She watched (and watch) movies with her family and friends.
She participated in P.E. classes as well! No exemptions. No special considerations.
With the way she delivered her speech and with the way she lives her life, you could see that she’s such a cheerful and positive person who makes the best out of everything. She’s humble yet she’s brave enough to speak her mind.
Today, she’s involved in some advocacy groups. One of her projects was donating software and hardware for the blind all over the Philippines.
I love the principle that she lives by,
“I use my weaknesses and I make them obvious to people that our achievements are those that we have done by overcoming our weaknesses with His power. God’s grace is sufficient for me.”
I was inspired by Roselle’s story. I feel blessed to have met her (yes, from a distance as part of the audience) and listened to her speech. She’s such an amazing woman. I have no excuse not to use my gifts to serve God and other people. I also like to acknowledge her family, her parents and her brothers who nurtured her with so much love. Her Dad (I think that was her Dad) guided her to the stage and fetched her from the stage after her talk.
Were you inspired by Roselle’s story? Please share in the comments. 🙂
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