Rolando Jr. Villamero


  • Program Year
  • 2015-17
  • Country of Current Residence
  • Kenya
  • City/Town of Current Residence
  • Nairobi
  • Current Position
  • Sauvé Fellow
  • Organization
  • Jeanne Sauvé Foundation
  • Profession(s)
  • Advocate for persons with disabilities, United Nations Advisor, NGO Manager

  • Sector(s)
  • Education, Healthcare, NGOs, Public Participation
  • Language(s)
  • English, Cebuano / Filipino
  • Mentor
  • Fiona J. Benson, Associate Professor, Integrated Studies in Education, McGill University; Kim Sawchuk, Department of Communications Studies
  • Interest(s) / Expertise
  • advocacy, disability rights, education, empowerment, inclusion, persons with disabilities, United Nations
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Impact Statement

Rolando Jr. values the importance of his family in everything he does. He loves working with people coming from diverse backgrounds, which is reflective of his inclination to diversity and inclusion.


Rolando Jr.’s passion for inclusive education started when he worked at GPRehab, an organization working with and for children with disabilities. The children’s stories of struggles and determination motivated him to strengthen inclusive education in the province through advocacy, parent’s empowerment, teacher training, and curriculum changes.

Rolando Jr. believes that in order to bring inclusive education forward, Persons with Disabilities (PWD) themselves have to be empowered to fight for their own right to education. This inspired him to found The Outstanding Persons with Disabilities of Negros Oriental Alumni Community (TOPDAC): a group of 35 PWD recognized for their personal excellence, leadership, and social responsibility. In 2012, he initiated a project to increase the capacities of student teachers to accommodate children with disabilities in the classroom. Rolando’s contributions have been recognized internationally, such as by the UN Secretary General’s Global Education First Initiative Youth Advocacy Group (GEFI-YAG).

Rolando Jr. was selected by the Erasmus Mundus Program in Special and Inclusive Education to be a student scholar in 2013. The program provided him the opportunity to finish his Masters Degree at the University of Roehampton London, University of Oslo, and Charles University in Prague.

Rolando Jr. is currently the Expert on Mission on Inclusive Education at UNICEF Kenya Country Office (KCO), where he facilitates the mainstreaming of disability issues across existing programmes such as Education, Health, Child Protection, and Social Policy. Furthermore, he provides technical expertise in the development of inclusive education policies for children with disabilities at Kenya’s Ministry of Education.

As a Fellow

In alignment with their program’s theme of Public Leadership for Culturally Diverse Societies, the 2016-17 Sauvé Fellows decided to collectively explore the complexities of refugee integration in Canada. To advance their learnings, they led a critical reading group, conducted site visits, and met with a wide range of relevant stakeholders, including refugees and parliamentarians. Their team project’s goal was to develop and pilot an approach to refugee integration in a holistic and practical way that delivered both impact and thought leadership while espousing core values of agency, inclusivity, fairness and cultural sensitivity.

In tackling the issue of refugee integration and implementing their team project, the Fellows wrote a policy brief (which they presented to several ministers while in Ottawa) and an op-ed, produced a short film on refugee experiences in Montreal as well as organized a series of public events exploring refugee integration in Canada.