Have you heard of the accomplished freelance photographer who has fostered advocacy and awareness for inclusion in the Philippines? Her name is Andrea G. Zubiri and at just 29 years of age she is a role model who is making a difference in the lives of so many children in the Philippines. 

SENIA became aware of Andrea in 2012, when her teachers nominated her for the inaugural SENIA Student Award.  Andrea was a senior attending Brent International School Manila at the time and her personal statement of advocacy for herself and others within her school and community, secured her the prestigious SENIA Student Award. 

After graduating from Brent International School, Andrea pursued her dream of photography and attended De La Salle – College of Saint Benilde.  At college, she learned how to speak in front of large audiences and how to advocate for accommodations in order to pass her exams. She also gave a presentation to the college student body about special education as an advocate for students with special needs.

Upon graduation, she spent a year in New York City, USA at the New York Film Academy graduating with her certificate of photography.  This is where she began her freelance photography work as she was inspired by the local art and gallery scenes. She returned to the Philippines and began her freelance work photographing families and various clients.

In 2018, Andrea had a one month internship with Collabtive, a digital and creative agency in Singapore.  Here she was able to develop her photography skills and business.  She gained experience on how to expand her business and was able to acquire her own clients.

Additionally, she worked with One World School ‘s Nilay Exhibit, photographing the artists and the art works of students aged 2-30+ of all abilities.  This was a fundraising event for the school ‘s expansion program. One World school is unique in that it caters for a full range of students of all abilities, including those with special educational needs, gifted and talented students and those who just learn differently. 

With the pandemic, Andrea has had to figure out how to promote her freelance photography business as she was no longer able to meet face to face with clients or do family events and portraits.  Here she pivoted to developing clients to photograph their products. She was able to photograph products in the Beauty and Wellness industry – such as Grounded PH, and a collaboration with Cray cosmetics. She is still trying to promote her product photography work. 

Andrea has also found time to work as an online photography teacher for Vanguard Academy during the pandemic.  She works with grade 10 students of varying abilities and supports them in setting up the photography for their instagram businesses. She draws on her knowledge of setting up her own photography business to inform her instruction and support her students. She is also developing a grade 7/8/9 scrapbooking class for students. Vanguard Academy is an innovative school in the Philippines that is open to and accessible for all students by providing equitable opportunities to develop their skills, interests and talents.

Andrea is an accomplished young adult who is a role model to her students not only as a gifted photographer but as a talented Filipina businesswoman.  She shares with her students the importance of being able to adapt to the challenges of the pandemic and find innovative solutions.  Also, she shares who she is and how advocating for yourself is an important skill to develop. 

Andrea Zubiri is a truly remarkable woman and SENIA is so proud to be part of her incredible journey.

You can contact Andrea at andreagzubiri.photo@gmail.com and access her website https://www.andreazubiriphoto.com/ for an appointment or more information about her photography work.

Dymphna Simon has pioneered sign language poetry performance as an alternative for Malaysian special needs individuals to partake in performing arts that often require oral skills. She recorded her own sign language poetry entitled “Ngakak” in which she won 1st prize at an online art festival “American Charm” in July 2021. Her individual victory earned  national publicity as she was able to break the barriers in performing arts that have excluded individuals who communicate through sign language from taking part actively as performers. Additionally, she led her team to win first place at the Portugal Art Carnival in May 2021. 

Also, she is an avid  badminton player who has won several tournaments for people with differing abilities.

Congratulations to Dymphna Simon as the 2021 September SENIA World Changer Award Recipient!

 Her poetry performance can be accessed from this link: https://youtu.be/2C6vKtkBolU

Muhamad Fazri Bin Hassan is a special education teacher at SK Gas Sandakan in Malaysia. He believes that learning through play will provide meaningful learning for his students. He has been featured in many social media platforms for his creativity in teaching. Fazri is a keen advocate for his students and encourages them to participate in singing competitions and art exhibitions.

Also, Fazri has been involved in action research implementing ways to improve reading skills in his students. His research has earned him gold awards at the state, national and international level. During the pandemic, Fazri had created his own website, Facebook page and YouTube channel called Fazri Classroom to help his students learn online. His materials have been shared and used nationwide not just among special education teachers but also early education and remedial teachers.

Congratulations to Muhamad Fazri Bin Hassan as the recipient of the 2021 SENIA World Changer Award.

Check out one of Fazri’s YouTube videos here: https://youtu.be/rrsLJhr_vvs



As part of her IBO MYP Personal Project, Iris researched her diagnosis of ADHD. The final product of her project was a presentation to the elementary teachers about ADHD, its causes, impacts and what teachers can do to support ADHD in the classroom.

 Iris went through the identification process in middle school and as she has matured through high school she embraced the opportunity to dig into her own understanding of what this diagnosis means to her identity and how it impacts her learning. It was important to her to return to speak to her elementary teachers about how they can support students and their families with ADHD. 

The impact of Iris ‘ presentation was enormous. Teachers and leadership left feeling more confident in being able to talk about neuro-diverse learners around their needs. The Vietnam SENIA representative has asked her to present at their monthly meetings and in May 2021 she will present to her current teachers in the secondary school. Iris is a role model in the school community of a strong, resilient, and proud neuro-diverse student.

Congratulations to Iris van der Velden as the recipient of June 2021 SENIA World Changer Award!

Aizat Izzuddin is an art enthusiast as well as a poetry performer, a storyteller, a voice actor, an illustrator and an orator. He, along with his classmate, narrated three short stories and recited three poems at the art festival “2020 Tiny Lit Fest”, hosted virtually by an association in Brunei.The two students became the first Malaysians to take part in the art festival as performers. In early 2021, Aizat represented Malaysia to compete at the Asian English Olympics organized by an Indonesian university where he participated in the storytelling category, together with two of his classmates. He was one of the first individuals with disabilities to take part in the event as contestants. His accomplishments in literary, performing and visuals arts have catalyzed the active participation of special needs learners in various arts events in his community. More students have been inspired to participate in the art festivals being held locally, nationally and internationally.

Congratulations to Muhammad Aizat Izzuddin Bin Azme as the recipient of the 2021 May World Changer Award!

Aizat ‘s short story presentations and poetry along with his classmates can be accessed via this link: https://youtu.be/YkeS2ohTe_Y


Lex is an Early Years professional from the UK with a PGCert in Special Educational Needs Coordination. She has worked with children for 20 years in various countries including Australia and Rwanda. She moved to Cambodia with her husband in 2015 with the desire to increase quality SEND provision within the country. She is SENCO and Head of The Giving Tree School ‘s Early Years campus in Phnom Penh. As well as supporting her fellow teachers she also teaches a class of two year old students. Lex is passionate about early intervention and networking with other professionals to bring awareness and high quality provision to all children with SEND in Cambodia. She also has 3 young boys at home that love to keep her busy when she ‘s not teaching! Lex took over as Chair of SENIA Cambodia Chapter in 2020, spearheading multiple projects while tirelessly supporting SENIA and wider community members.

Congratulations to Lex Hamilton as the April 2021 SENIA World Changer recipient!

Mohammad Zulfadhli bin Amban, who has a hearing impairment, is a vocational student at Keningau Vocational College in Sabah, Malaysia. He represented his state to compete at the National Abilympics Championship in the silk hand painting category. His paintings portray the traditional motifs of leaves and flowers in geometrical designs known as Batik motifs in Malaysia. His art wowed the visitors and judges. His signature style of portraying Malaysian Batik motifs on his artwork helped to popularize the intricate patterns as a unique concept that are highlighted at annual art exhibitions and competitions in the country. Also, his efforts contributed to the preservation of traditional arts by familiarizing a younger generation with the centuries-old theme and craftsmanship of Batik.

Congratulations to Mohammad Zulfadhli bin Amban as the recipient of the March 2021 SENIA World Changer Award!

Zandri is an Occupational Therapist based in Hanoi, Vietnam.She started her journey when she visited Vietnam in Nov 2017. Looking through her Occupational Therapy (OT) lenses, she saw that limited accommodations were being made for people with disabilities. She returned to Vietnam in Feb 2018, taking Hanoi by storm and advocating for inclusion in the community and schools. She serves as an OT service provider and is also a board member of SENIA Vietnam.

Zandri develops programs and training for teachers, parents and other service providers in Hanoi to equip them with the knowledge and skills needed to create an inclusive classroom. She does school visits to support the development of Learning Support and provides recommendations that fit with the teacher’s teaching style and classroom challenges. Zandri provides training and guides newly qualified OT’s in Vietnam to broaden their impact in the community through professional and self-development.

Zandri is passionate about creating equal opportunities for all and believes through education, awareness, and skills training, Vietnam (and the world) can view the world and its beautiful people through lenses of love, empathy, and understanding.

Through love for ourselves and our neighbors we change the world – one by one.

Congratulations to Zandri Byleveldt as the recipient of the 2021 February World Changer Award!

Jane Christine Justine, a student with a hearing impairment, was the leader of her school innovation team specializing in producing vegan food. Along with her team and their advisory teacher, they initiated a project called “Veganbond” which seeks to produce their own vegan food and raise public awareness on vegan lifestyle. In 2020, she led her team to win three innovation medals in a local innovation competition and two global innovation contests that were virtually hosted in the UK and in Southeast Asia. Veganbond was also a finalist in the 2020 Youth Solution Report produced by SDSN Youth. They presented their project in sign language and this led to major changes made by the event organizers in order to accommodate special needs individuals as only oral presentations were allowed in the past. Her efforts have successfully broken the barriers for special needs individuals especially those with hearing impairments.  Here is a link to their presentation: https://youtu.be/pE774orv8OI

Congratulations Jane!!

Edelson Dell started as a track and field athlete in the early 2010s before transitioning to football. He played actively in the special needs football championship in 2014. He represented his state, Sabah, to play professionally in various national level matches across the country where his team often earned the top three spots including several victories. His incredible talent and efforts helped him become an exceptional player. He successfully made it to the national team and represented the country at regional and international level football championships in Taiwan, South Korea and Brazil. His remarkable feat in football has inspired many individuals with special needs especially those from his state, Sabah, and his former school, KVKEN, to participate in football and other sports tournaments. Due to this, many schools in the state have begun to invest more in sports for special needs students.

Congratulations to Edelson Dell Evaristus as the recipient of the SENIA World Changer Award November 2020!