My name is Shani and I'm 20 years old. I was born and raised in the Philippines but currently study in Singapore. When I was 11 years old, I encountered a freak accident, which left me with five broken bones and permanent blindness in my right eye. For several years, I was unable to participate in sports or any other physical activity, so I turned to the best musical alternative – drumming. Little did I know that this newfound hobby would turn into a lifestyle, making my recovery so much more seamless than it otherwise would've been.
It's been an incredible journey: I first started out playing the drums for my high school jazz band and dabbling in a bit of percussion. In a few months' time, I had the opportunity to represent my school as a multi-percussion soloist on stages in Bangkok, Jakarta, and Manila (my home city). Now that I am a college student in Singapore, I love spending most of my free time playing in an orchestra, late-night-jamming with my peers, and performing in school concerts and productions.
One of my ambitions is to help bring music to underprivileged communities. Before leaving the Philippines, some classmates and I started an initiative in this vein, raising enough money to donate musical instruments and resources to three different local schools. When I return to the Philippines in a few years, I intend to continue this line of work, because I believe the kind of joy and healing music has given me is something everyone should be able to experience.