Alumni Postcard Video - Australia Awards - Abelardo Apollo David Jr.

Abelardo Apollo David, Jr. known fondly as 'Teacher Archie' has been officially recognised as one of the Philippines most outstanding men for his profound impact on the lives of people with disabilities. Growing up in the Philippines he says he always knew he was passionate about serving others.

Teacher Archie initially earned a qualification as an occupational therapist and worked as head of the Clinic for Therapy Services at the College of Allied Medical Professions in Manila offering free therapy to children with disabilities from poor families.

In they year 2000, colleagues at the University suggested he apply for an Australia Awards Scholarship, and later that year he found himself on a plane to Brisbane, Australia, to undertake a Master’s degree in Occupational Therapy at the University of Queensland.

When he returned in 2002, at only 26 years of age, he was ready to do much more for people with disabilities in the Philippines. He established the Independent Living Learning Centres around the country in Metro Manila, Cebu, and Davao.

The Centres offered practical and life oriented programs for children with special needs. Teacher Archie's Centres ensured children with special needs would have a profession and be self-sufficient when their guardians were no longer able to care for them. He also cultivated a network of employers willing to take on his graduates.

Next he established a foundation for the Rehabilitation and Empowerment of Adults and Children with Handicap (REACH). Through the REACH Foundation he has established Project TEACH where he trains members of the community to provide care for people with disabilities that are unable to travel to a centre.

Teacher Archie the programs he helped establish have been awarded six presidential and national awards. These include the 2008 Grand prize in the World Bank’s “Panibagong Paraan: A Competition for Rehabilitation Volunteer of the Year” and the 2008 Apolinario Mabini Presidential Award for Rehabilitation Volunteer of the Year.

More recently, in 2012 Teacher Archie was named as one of the Ten Outstanding Young Men of the Philippines and in 2013 he was invited to speak at the United Nations on World Autism Awareness Day about the Independent Living Learning Centres and Project TEACH.

In 2015, Teacher Archie's Community-Based Rehabilitation Program in Manila received one of the prestigious United Nations Public Service Awards.

Teacher Archie has been asked to speak at conferences all over the world on topics ranging from Dysphagia Management, Sensory Integration, Behavior Modification techniques, Community Based Rehabilitation, Transition Education, Life Skills and Pre vocational and vocational skills training.

His dream is for the Independent Living Learning Centres to be recognised as a preferred and accessible resource not just for Filipinos but for people with disabilities from all across the world.

He hopes that one day the Philippines will graduate from knowledge recipient to prolific innovator and contributor in the global movement for equity and development.



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