Brina makes history : Special Olympics Global Ambassador | Sunday Observer

Brina makes history : Special Olympics Global Ambassador

Brina meets former President  Barack Obama
Brina meets former President Barack Obama

 Brina Kei Maxino is a 21-year-old Filipino. She has Down syndrome and is a person with intellectual disability. Despite all challenges, she persevered and managed to attend regular school and eventually graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree. She is currently working as an Assistant Teacher. She is a Special Olympics Global Ambassador, advocating for the respect and inclusion of persons with intellectual disability in society.

Born with Down syndrome, Brina has spent her life proving the world wrong. When she was nine-days-old, a doctor told her parents that she might not live long because of a hole in her heart. Today, she is 22. When she was ten years old, a psychologist said she would probably not be able to finish grade school. Not only did she graduate at 16 from a general education high school as class valedictorian, she also earned a college degree in AB History at the age of 20.

Growing up, she studied in schools where she was bullied and called names. Brina says, “They excluded me from their games because they thought I was too slow. There were schools that did not accept me because I was not smart enough.”

She has never allowed the negativity to get her down. Strong family support has also helped her defy the odds. Today, Brina is an inspirational public speaker with a stellar list of accomplishments. She was selected as a Global Youth Ambassador for Special Olympics, representing the Asia Pacific Region during the 2013 Special Olympics World Winter Games and the 2015 World Games.

She has shared her personal story and advocated for people with intellectual disabilities both within the Philippines, where she lives, and globally. She has appeared in television ads, starred in a movie, and even been invited to dinner with former U.S. President Barack Obama.

Brina says, “Every day, people with intellectual disabilities suffer rejection and ridicule because others think they are not good enough.

They are wrong. We can do more and be more, if only the world gives us a fighting chance. As a unified generation, let us stand together and declare that all people matter!”