My Eyes in the Dark

Published by: Mariel Valbuena

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I have always found bliss in my blindness.

Life is a series of choices! This means our options are not just between a YES or a NO, but a lot of combinations of both or a defined series of actions. But in my case, I didn’t have much of a choice with my physicality. You see, I was born with a condition that forbids me to literally see reality. I was born blind.

When my mom was pregnant with me she took certain medications and unknowingly, it had an effect on my developing body. So ever since, I learned to see the world through my hands and the people around me. They’d describe the beauty that surrounds me and let me feel the those that I could not capture through their words. They try to make my life easy as it should. They are my eyes in the darkness. Though others might pity the state I’m in, but sadness and discontent never settled in. I had always been content and happy because I have always found bliss in my blindness. I learned to use my other senses to its threshold to cope with what I don’t have. I may be blind but unlike the others, I was privileged to attend a regular school and get the education I wanted. I was able to finish my college degree, Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education and I even graduated with honors.

Teaching had always been something I wanted to do but after I graduated, I was not given an opportunity to practice my vocation because of the dearth of teaching jobs for blind teachers like me. My degree, my academic honor and my PRC license were not enough to make me practice my profession. Once again, I was left without a choice. But that did not dishearten me because I know that with a positive attitude and an open mind, opportunities would come my way. And it did.
I was hired by a company in Makati and I was mainly telemarketing. I like what I was doing because I know I am doing something for myself and for my family. After all, financial independence is what all young professionals want. I like that job but I did not like the hassle I had to go through in my everyday commute. I had a hard time traveling on my own. I knew I had to do something and think of an alternative. That was also when I got to know Virtualahan and the training scholarship they give.

Virtualahan helps people like me to have technical and communication skills training to equip us with the wide choices of jobs online. Which means I get to earn a living without the hassles of everyday life. Being in Virtualahan was a perfect fit for me. I’m also blessed that through their program, I am able to meet new people who have similar and varied conditions. These are people I get to share my life with and find the commonality of life challenges we go through. I found genuine friendship and a new family in them.

Though I never got to see how the blue skies look like, or how the colors of the rainbow intertwine. And though I never had the chance to see the sunset or the stars above…
I know it is still a beautiful world. I don’t see the skies but I feel its peace. I don’t see the rainbow but I feel the hope it brings. I don’t see the sunsets or the stars but I feel the happiness they give to the people around me.
And these are more than enough to be grateful to God for this life.


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The Strand of Hope

People got scared of them even their own family members because there were not enough scientific and medical explanations about the condition

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A six-week digital skills training using blended life-long learning approach. The curriculum is co-developed with Accenture and British Council and delivered 100% online.


Three months of employment support or one year of business mentorship depending on which track a graduate decides to take at the end of the six-weeks training.


Life-coaching through well-being sessions led by our resident psychologist with a strong focus on restoring human dignity, embracing disability, career guidance, patient education, and community-based therapy.

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Community projects led by Virtualahan alumni such as awareness campaigns, policy recommendations, public events, and activities focused on advancing SDG 1, 3, 8, 10 and 17.