The story of Allen Pineda Lindo mirrors those of many disadvantaged children in the Philippines who are visually-impaired. Born to a poor family in the provincial capital of Angeles, Pampanga just 30 miles outside of Metropolitan Manila Allen’s vision challenges brought about difficulties in school, self-esteem problems, and often required special assistance. In a country where there are very few provisions for special education the prospects for children with visual impairment are quite dismal.
“I was embarrassed that I had to stand so close to the blackboard which annoyed all the other kids,” Allen explained. “But worst, the teachers themselves were not very encouraging.”
Exacerbating the problem is the fact that most of these visually-impaired children are from disadvantaged backgrounds. Many are born prematurely in part due to the deficient nature of prenatal care available to the poor. The cost of supporting a disabled child for life often makes it impossible for their families to lift themselves out of the cycle of poverty.
But Allen Pineda Lindo was one of the lucky ones. His adoptive, American father brought him to the United States for eye treatments. He was able to go to school in California. And eventually, his artistic inclinations brought rise to the establishment of one of the most phenomenal groups in the American music scene—the Black Eyed Peas—and with it the reinvention of Allen Pineda Lindo into Apl.de.ap.