Open Employment for PWDs




As I write this, the member-cooperatives of the Federation are at full steam ahead working hard to coplete the P90 Million-contract for school chairs awarded by the Department of Education.

CBMI has been in partnership with the Federatin since its inception, and has given, and will continue to give, significant technical and financial and support.

One of the perennial problems faced by the Federation is shortage of working capital, to meet various sudden expenses when big orders come. CBM recently signaled its confidence in the productive capacities of the member cooperatives, and in the coordinating role of the Federation itself, by making available a loan of Php60-Million to meet working capital needs for the current production contract. This is a historic first for CBM providing a loan to a partner-organization, in a purely business like and contractual way. This is because we see the Federation and its member-cooperatives as businesses, not sheltered work-shops, or welfare organizations. And we consider the loan as an investment, not as a gamble.

The enterprise is not just about economic empowerment, and therefore self-respect, for people with disabilities. It is also about sending an unmistakable signal to the general public, at home and abroad, that disability does not mean inability. Only today, I got an e-mail from a former senior official of the Internation Labour Organization (ILO) asking for information on the Federation and its member-cooperatives. So, the good word is spreading. Too often, at the international level, fine words are spoken, but little or no action follows.

What the NFCPWD is doing is leading by practical example, and people are sitting up and paying attention. This is bound to have a wider, beneficial effect on the prospects of open employment for people with disabilities elsewhere. More power!