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Seasons Greetings!

Made Perfect Weakness

Written by Didith T. Rodrigo
Illustrated by Patricia Lascano

Rosselle R. Ambubuyog

Roselle Rodriguez Ambubuyog was born on January 12, 1980 to Gemme Fonte Ambubuyog and Deanna Ballesteros Rodriguez. She was the youngest of four children and the only girl in the family. She lost her sight when she was six years old as a result of a severe reaction to over-the-counter medications.

Despite her blindness, Roselle convinced her parents to enroll her in regular schools with sighted students. In those schools, Roselle consistently excelled. She graduated valedictorian from Holy Infant Montessori in 1986, Batino Elementary School in 1993, and Ramon Magsaysay High School-Manila in 1997.

Roselle chose to pursue her college studies at the Ateneo de Manila University in no small part because the university made an effort to understand her needs. The university invested in a Braille translation software program that converted encoded or scanned text and a Braille printer for Roselle’s exam questionnaires. In 2001, she graduated university valedictorian, with a BS in Mathematics, summa cum laude.

None of these successes came easily. She was constantly regarded with suspicion and discrimination because of her blindness and her academic standing. People accused her of cheating during contests or remarked that she was awarded her valedictories out of pity. When confronted with adversity, Roselle drew strength from 2 Corinthians 12:9, “The Lord said: My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”

In her valedictory speech at the Ateneo, Roselle also gives credit to her family. Her father left his job to take care of her when she lost her sight. Her mother and brothers took turns reading to her. She shared her victories with them—they were as much her family’s as she was theirs. She told her audience, “Everyone experiences disabilities one way or another; mine is just more obvious than yours. We are all fortunate to have loved ones, who help us bear the burdens brought about by our weaknesses. We may find ourselves in the dark, but we should not be afraid to move forward, because we have the light of our stars to count on, and to be thankful for.”

After she graduated, Roselle continued to be showered with awards. She was named one of the Ten Outstanding Students of the Philippines. She received a BPI Science Award. The National Centennial Commission gave her the “Kabataang Makasaysayan” Award, and many others.

As of the time of this writing, Roselle continues to be based in the Philippines while working as an access technology specialist working for software and hardware companies in Europe and North America. She specializes in designing technology products for the blind and has won awards for innovation and engineering.

On her passion for her work, Roselle says, “…playing a key role in the development of innovative technologies that help people with disabilities, not only in the Philippines but worldwide is a … fulfilling career. Looking back at the kid who hated math before she learned to use the … abacus, I am happy knowing that I am now in a position to provide the tools that would make life easier for blind students...”