Disable is a verb which means to weaken or to cause something to be unable to do or work. Disability is a noun which is a condition of being unable or limits a person to do things. Separately, these words may connote negative meanings. But putting these together may implicate otherwise.
Provincial Government of Ifugao (PLGU Ifugao) and the Ifugao Federation of Persons with Disabilities, Inc. (IFPWDI) will show us how.
Taking the first step to self-reliance
The creation of IFPWDI is a result of the aspiration to serve majority of the members of the persons with disability (PWD) sector in Ifugao. In 1992, IFPWDI was formally organized and registered under the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The Federation became guided with the objective to advocate, promote, and protect the welfare and development of the members towards self-reliance. The members aimed to organize or strengthen PWD organizations in the area, as well as establish and maintain their network with other stakeholders. They also planned to implement programs and services for the PWDs, their families and the community, and undertake resource generation activities for the members and the organization. The Federation also wanted to advocate their rights through the representation of PWDs in local bodies, and creation of Office of Persons with Disability Affairs and Provincial/ City/ Municipal Council for the Welfare of Disabled Persons (P/C/MCWDP).
With this, the IFPWDI started to take actions for the realization of their vision of self-reliance.
With a dream to have a sheltered workshop center where PWDs could gather, talk about their concerns, work as a group and market their products, in 1997, the federation made a resolution to former Governor Idelfonso Dulinayan, requesting for a building for the PWDs. In that same year, the proposed project was funded with PhP 1,000,000.00.
Together means a stronger foundation
With strong concern for the disadvantaged sector, the Provincial Government of Ifugao deemed it necessary to mainstream the sector in their community. It designated a strategic location for the Provincial Center for Persons with Disabilities at the front of the Provincial Capitol compound. The center’s visibility and accessibility made it an ideal venue for economic undertakings. Currently, the building houses three (3) livelihood activities under the Federation- massage center, May “K” Canteen and May “K” Cooperative.
To further support these, the PLGU Ifugao provided PhP 100,000.00 in 2008 to fund the operation of the canteen. Later in 2010, another PhP 100,000.00 was granted to the cooperative.
Since most of the PWDs in Ifugao have not attended formal education, only .5% were able to finish a college degree, various skills training and leadership seminars were conducted for them. To further encourage them to attend school, Educational Assistance to in-school Persons with Disabilities have also been implemented since 2010. Assistance amounting to around PhP 3,000.00 is given to grantees per semester. In partnership with the Provincial Government, various activities for the PWD sector were conducted which empowered them to participate in community development.
Finding ability in disability
With the sustained effort of the Federation and the PLGU Ifugao, the PWDs in the province are now empowered to avail of their rights and privileges.
Currently, there are five (5) PWDs employed at the May “K” Canteen. These individuals are given the opportunity to access a regular source of income. Persons with visual impairment are also (3) provided with this opportunity since they work as masseurs at the center and earn an average of PhP 4,000.00 every month. This has enabled them to improve the living condition of their families. The PWDs were able to improve their selves in terms of skills and knowledge which gave them a higher sense of self-esteem. Much more than this, they are now seen as an important contributor to the development of their community.
As an all-around worker, Marilyn Tayaban is now able to serve a number of people through the May K Canteen.
Marlyn has an orthopedic impairment, but despite this, she had to deal with a difficult job. “Noon, ako ay naglalako ng mga lutong pagkain kung saan-saan. Isa akong moving canteen”, she shared.
But her employment and membership in the Federation made a difference. “Steady na ang income ko ngayon. Bukod dun, bilang member ng federation nakaroon pa ako ng chance na makasama at makakilala ng iba pang kagaya ko na PWD”, Marlyn added.
The group is also on its way to operationalizing its cooperative. Preparatory activities such as skills enhancement and capacity building activities are now being projected for the members. “Plano po naming mag-expand pa at magdagdag ng aming mga produkto. Mas marami pang skills enhancement activities ang gusto pa naming maisagawa”, Jobal Malinga, IFPWDI Treasurer said.
With the unceasing vision of Ifugao PWDs for self- development, the Provincial Government of Ifugao (PLGU Ifugao) and the Ifugao Federation of Persons with Disabilities, Inc. (IFPWDI) continue to work with various government agencies. Though their journey is far from finished, they have been empowered to disable their disabilities. #DSWD-CAR, SOCIAL MARKETING UNIT, Nerizza Faye G. Villanueva