Gerald Anderson’s love for the mentally challenged

By Nadine Leoncio, Multimedia Producer, Ako ang Simula

Posted at Aug 24 2012 05:09 PM | Updated as of Aug 28 2012 03:13 AM

Gerald Anderson continues to support “Cottolengo Filipino”, an institution for children with mental disabilities. It was organized by the “Sons of Divine Providence Foundation” in 2000. At present, 38 abandoned kids are sheltered in Rodriguez, Rizal.

Fr. Julio Cuestas, one of the administrators, believes that mentally challenged children are in dire need of a strong support group. Sadly, several of the kids in their institution were left by their parents.

With the help of volunteers and kind-hearted individuals like Gerald Anderson, they help these children cope with their condition. They are able to study because of special education programs (SPED) and are also sometimes taught livelihood skills like how to make candles and religious figurines. Cottolengo Filipino not only teaches mentally challenged individuals how to live, but also how to be productive.
As the lead in the hit teleserye in 2011, “Budoy”, Gerald developed a special connection with mentally challenged children. Immersing in their world made him feel their pain. Because of that, he decided to help mentally challenged kids, who he realized can be just as capable as normal kids.

There is a bakery in Mandaue, Cebu that can prove that people with intellectual disabilities can also prove to be promising workers with admirable skills.

A grant received from the Japanese Government helped Delia, SPED Principal, open a bakery which her students run. The bakery allow her students, who are intellectually disabled, to enhance their skills and build their confidence.

Joel Marson, a 32-year old mentally challenged person, is one of the master bakers of the shop. His level of thinking is only fit for a grade one student, but he has proved that he can become as successful as people with no disabilities.

He is now happily married with kids, and is only of the mentally challenged people who earn money by working at the bakery.

As for Gerald, he promises to continue his love and advocacy for the kids of Cottolengo Filipino. His hopes are high that more people will share their blessings with mentally challenged children, who can also contribute something to society.

Aired on: August 22, 2012