As a nearly blind young student in the Philippines, Blacked Eyed Peas member Apl De Ap’s had a drive to learn but was considered disruptive as he would pull his school desk up close to the chalk board to see the lesson plans. His teacher thought of his actions being disruptive and crushed his world by saying, “You’re blind! What are you going to be when you’re grown up?”
From that day on, Apl.De.Ap started thinking about his future. He couldn’t be a doctor or an architect that he hoped to be.
However, after being adopted at the age of fourteen and moving to the United States for an opportunity for a new life. Apl.De Ap. made friends with Will.I.am and Taboo creating the now famous Black Eyed Peas.
With his success, he didn’t want other blind kids in the Philippines to experience the shame of their blindness. With his foundation, Apl.De.Ap Foundation and the partnership of distinguished pediatric eye surgeon, Thomas Lee, MD, and his team of experts in the renowned Vision Center at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles will support the “Campaign for Filipino Children.”
Through the magic of the internet and technology, Dr. Lee will be able to work with four hospitals in the Philippines to help train doctors when they send him photos of potential patient's eyes then review and notate if the subject has retinopathy of prematurity (ROP), an eye disease that affects newly born babies.
Many Filipino hospitals and physicians lack the training to diagnose the disease.
Through this program, Apl.De.Ap and the team assembled by Dr. Lee hopes to combat the eye sight robbing disease through education of doctors in the Philippines.
With the success of building over 40 schools, Apl.De.Ap Foundation International is working to raise at least $650,000 through concerts featuring Apl.De.Ap and others for the next two years to help support The Vision Center of the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles medical mission to eradicate preventable childhood blindness.
The first concert will be held a the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles this coming Sunday, dubbed “Rebuild Philippines!” That concert will also raise funds for victims of Typhoon Haiyan.
The Apl.De.Ap Foundation was presented with a check for $150,000 from westernunion.com to help jumps tart the fundraising campaign. The public can make donations through the website www.ForFilipinoChildren.com
“In a country where there are very few provisions for special education, the prospects for children with visual impairment are quite dismal,” says Apl.de.ap. “This issue is something we have the power and knowledge to address. By partnering with the foremost experts in this area--Dr. Lee and the experts at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles—we are not only saving the vision of thousands of children every year, we are vastly improving their chances of a better life.”