'Earthsavers' Daring to Dream

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'Earthsavers' Daring to Dream

The voice of a woman echoes through Konkuk University Hall on Thursday afternoon. "Don't laugh at me... I'm just like you." It is 23-year-old Jaymee Castillo, invited to the Asia-Europe Meeting 2000 People's Forum as a member of "Earthsaver's Dreams," a group of disabled performers from the Philippines.

Twenty-year-old Ireneo A. Cantar Jr. begins to dance next to Jaymee. Neo was born without his right arm. The atmosphere reaches a crescendo when the whole group performs to the sound of 20-year-old Rico Javier Del Rosario's synthesizer melodies. Rico is blind.

"Earthsaver's Dreams" was created five years ago by 14 poor, disabled youths. They have traveled the world, spreading their message on environmental protection and the abolition of poverty through song and dance.

"I hope our performance shows everybody in this world that we are one and not alone," said 28-year-old Niki Pahati, paralyzed from birth but an expert dancer in his wheelchair. Armel Espinosa de Guzman, who graduated from the most prestigious ballet school in the Philippines despite a speech impediment, says, smiling, "I really hope our performance helps people realize that they can overcome the biggest hurdles."

Cecile Alvarez, a representative of "Earthsaver's Dreams," says that she hopes their message also contributes to improving relations between North and South Korea.

by Kim Seung-hyun

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