News & Events

Malayan High School of Science student nabs award in epilepsy awareness art contest

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Courtesy of Epilepsy Awareness Philippines Facebook page

In a country where superstitious beliefs are part of day-to-day living, having epilepsy can be inappropriately interpreted. Too many Filipinos chalk up seizures to kulam (witchcraft) or sapi (possession), and even more consider epilepsy symptoms as signs of insanity. These misconceptions often lead to struggles with late or wrong diagnoses. Additionally, the stigma associated with epilepsy make many people with the disorder too embarrassed to seek treatment.

To combat the stigma and misinformation about epilepsy and recognizing the challenges that people affected with it face, Mark Julius Ang, a Grade 7 student of Malayan High School of Science (MHSS) joined #drawepilepsy, an online art contest seeking to raise awareness about epilepsy in the Philippines. Ang placed second in the 13 to 16years old category of the competition. The contest is organized annually by the Center for Developmental Arts Manila, Inc., and the Philippine Partnership on Children with Disabilities.

Epilepsy, a chronic neurological disorder, is marked by disturbances in the brain’s electrical activity. This leads to recurrent episodes of sensory disturbance, loss of consciousness, or convulsions. Experts estimate that some 93,000 Filipinos suffer from epilepsy.

“My emotions and passion [about epilepsy] inspired my work,” he said. “Through the encouragement of all the people around me, I thought I could stand up and speak for people with epilepsy so that they wouldn’t get hurt and wouldn’t be discriminated.”

According to Jocelyn Antiporda, principal of MHSS, Ang’s achievement exemplifies MHSS’s commitment to nurturing civic-minded students.

“We continuously strive to encourage a sense of social responsibility in all our students here at MHSS, as we believe that the ultimate value of knowledge and skills, both scientific and artistic, is seen when they are applied in improving the quality of life,” shared Antiporda. “Achievements such as Mr. Ang’s are an honor to the school.”