Thursday, September 9, 2010

Making his MARK: A Visually Impaired Makes Good as a Transcriber

article by: Maan Robin

When was the last time you heard a friend or a colleague say the line “Patience is a virtue” and you just laughed it off? I took this statement lightly as well until I met Mark Homez. Mark is a visually impaired transcriber working for ZipIT Solutions Inc whom I met a few weeks back. Both ZipIT and MTC Academy are housed in same location along E. Quirino Avenue in Davao City. Mark is one individual I have a lot of respect and admiration for. I had the chance of chatting up his mom whose love and dedication for Mark and his dreams is clearly a top agenda for her.

Born with premature eyes, he grew up seeing only blurred images until a bike accident at a young age which caused him to lose his eyesight totally. Despite this tragedy, Mark finished his high school education at the School for the Blind and then went through a course in computer literacy with the aid of a soft ware called Job Access with Speech (JAWS) at the Resources for the Blind Inc.

Joining the mainstream of society who seeks stability, Mark’s condition posed a set of limitations which seemed impossible to hurdle until he met Honey Baula, a life coach who changed his outlook on the many opportunities for the visually impaired. With the information Honey shared, Mark persuaded his parents to allow him to pursue a transcription career. Mark asserts that “since a 4-year college course for me could be difficult, I needed to find alternative learning/education that fits my condition.” Mrs. Homez supported his son’s plan having heard about MTC Academy’s Transcription Training for the Visually Impaired (VI). Mrs. Homez continues by saying, “We agreed to enroll Mark in transcription training and supported him by looking over his needs such as the carpool to provide transport to and from the house and school.” Mrs. Homez also made it a point to meet with MTC’s staff and faculty to ascertain their level of readiness to provide for Marks unique learning requirements.

According to Mr. Joebert Sarong, one of his mentors, “Mark was very aloof in the first few weeks. He was very pessimistic that he would not finish the course.” Gradually, Mark’s outlook changed as he progressed and noticeably became more sociable and positive. Over time, his classmates and mentors discovered a new facet of Mark’s personality emerging - a smart, witty and humorous fellow who certainly could make his classmates laugh. “Mark is very diligent in his training; he would spend time studying his e-books and would top the exams. He really is one of my best students,” added Mr. Sarong.

“I find it unbelievable that my son is now earning his own salary. The amount doesn’t really matter because I could really feel that he is enjoying his work and have gained more self-esteem, confidence and social skills as well”, adds Mrs. Homez.

On August 27, 2010, I was honored to witness Mark’s graduation at MTC Academy. His advice to peers and students –“Patience, patience, patience…” was all that he emphasized. He claims that without it, he wouldn’t be the person that he has become today: Optimistic, confident and facing each day with enthusiasm.

Patience …that one word meant a lot to me – me with all my faculties intact tended to take for granted the gifts I am blessed with. MARK has indeed made his mark by inspiring me to be thankful for what I have and to make full use of these gifts.

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