Sunday, October 21, 2018

FWD Life Insurance and Humanity & Inclusion celebrated Forward Together Project

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month, FWD Life Insurance recently supported and teamed up together with Humanity & Inclusion (formerly known as Handicap International, an independent international aid organization), to celebrate the beginning of the Forward Together project, helping young people with disabilities find employment opportunities in the Philippines and beyond.

Accordingly, 13% of Filipinos live with disabilities and only 10% of employable with disabilities are engaged in regular paid work with the public sectors providing most of the career opportunities. Through the regional partnership initially announced by the insurer in the first half of 2018, both organizations will work towards advocating equal opportunities and empowering people with disabilities in Asia. With FWD Group investing USD 1million, the Forward Together project will train at least 380 youth with disabilities in the Philippines and Indonesia and help them secure sustainable employment or business opportunities.

DFA Assistant for Programs for PWDs Raphael Torralba shared " Persons with disabilities are talented and productive at work. They can even surpass the expectations of the employers. Give them a chance, not on their disabilities, just look with their abilities." He added, “Everyone has the potential to be a diplomat, as ambassadors for change—I am a diplomat for PWDs.”

FWD Life Philippines aims to end the stigma that disability corresponds to inability,” FWD Life Philippines President and Chief Executive Officer Peter Grimes said. “Through our partnership with Humanity & Inclusion, we hope to provide a platform for people with disabilities to showcase their strengths and abilities. We want to encourage everyone to help create a future with a difference for people with disabilities with opportunities to become valuable and equal contributors to the community.”

Guest of honor Raphael Torralba (third from left), DFA Assistant for Programs for PWDs receives a plaque of appreciation
Joining him are from left: FWD Insurance General Counsel Atty. Teroy Roman, Head of Marketing Roche Vandenberge; and H&I Regional Coordinator Bryan Marsalis
“Developing countries are encouraged to invest in youth, but unfortunately, young people with disabilities are usually overlooked in employment and entrepreneurship opportunities,” said Bryan Andrew Marsalis, Humanity & Inclusion Regional Operation Coordinator. “That is why we are very delighted to have such strong support from FWD Group in our advocacy of improving the lives of youth with disabilities. Through this project, we will work with selected employers – including FWDG Group – across the two target countries to improve their capacity to employ youth with disabilities.”

“At FWD, we are committed to promoting social inclusion and active participation of persons with disabilities, and are very excited to kick start our work with Humanity & Inclusion,” said FWD Life Philippines Head of Marketing and Community Care Country Lead Roche Vandenberghe. “With the Forward Together project, we are enabling businesses and organizations such as ours to become catalysts for quality job creation.”
FWD Insurance Community Care volunteers hold up their hands with the stylized “Hi!” for Humanity and Inclusion

FWD Life Philippines and Humanity & Inclusion also celebrated the Forward Together project with a fun interactive visual language activity and Mystery Manila escape room challenge participated by volunteers from both organizations as well as members of the media at Century City Mall in Makati City. The visual language activity needs a lot of FOCUS, UNDERSTANDING and CARE in communicating with people who are deaf or hard of hearing through sign language. At first it was not easy but the activity provided me helpful lessons about engaging with people with disabilities  and look into ways to sensitively communicate with them. While the Mystery Manila "Pym Particle" challenge with Team Orange needs a lot of COOPERATION and COMMUNICATION to be able to find out clues AND SOLVE it, for us to escape the room in an hour. We almost solved the game 😃,about 80%.

Just like dealing with persons with disabilities, we need to focus, understand, communicate well with them. Giving them a chance to prove that having a disability is no barrier to achieving success.

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