Empowering persons with disabilities

Published August 1, 2022, 2:23 PM

by MB Lifestyle

Thrive Together project continues to educate PWD and the youth with financial planning education and literacy

PWD-FRIENDLY From left: Executives of the Leonard Cheshire Disability Philippines Foundation, president Jose Racela IV, vice-president Dr. Josephine Bundoc, founding chairperson Lourdes Reyes; delegates of Humanity & Inclusion, technical unit manager Edward Ello, country manager Melanie Ruiz; and FWD insurance representatives chief marketing officer Roche Vandenberghe, chief people and culture officer Vita Marie Guillen, and chief agency officer Jun Marasigan 

FWD Life Insurance and Humanity & Inclusion (HI) rolled out the second phase of its Community Care project, “Thrive Together: Empowering young people with disabilities in the Philippines.” This year, Leonard Cheshire Disability Philippines Foundation Inc. (LCDPFI) has joined the team as the implementing partner for the Philippines.

Thrive Together centers on financial planning and financial literacy education for participants and their families, targeting 1,000 beneficiaries by 2024, to empower them to live fulfilling lives.

“We’re honored to be agents of change and inclusion in the communities we serve. We strive to provide equal opportunities not just because of our commitment to changing the way people feel about insurance, but also to give more reasons to celebrate living, especially for those in need,” says Roche Vandenberghe, FWD Life Insurance chief marketing officer and community care country lead.

Melanie Ruiz, HI country manager, underscores the importance of sustaining the project after the successful first phase. “We’re proud of this partnership with FWD because it has helped us fulfill our mission to improve the quality of life of persons with disabilities and vulnerable populations,” says Melanie. “Having this second phase is a very important milestone for us as we continue to reach and empower the youth.”

‘We strive to provide equal opportunities not just because of our commitment to changing the way people feel about insurance, but also to give more reasons to celebrate living, especially for those in need.’

Lourdes Reyes, LCDPFI founding chairperson. adds, “We do need partners to materialize our goals in much easier ways. With the partnership with FWD, we can help not just persons with disabilities but also the downtrodden and the marginalized.”

Two of the project’s beneficiaries, Arnel Macapagal and Jesfer Glenn Santos, attest to how they were able to find confidence despite their disabilities because of the training and financial support they received.

Arnel, 35, now owns an egg supply and delivery business, supported by the financial capital and training through the project. He was laid off from his job as a factory worker due to a spinal cord injury he sustained in an accident in 2018. Despite four operations, the injury has impeded his physical mobility. The subsequent Enhanced Community Quarantine lockdowns made it even more difficult for him. This first phase of the project gave him the ability, but more importantly, a renewed hope to rebuild his livelihood.

It was an enlightening experience for Jesfer Glenn, a visually impaired 25-year-old. He said that the training he received through the first phase of the project helped him believe in himself and gain more confidence to overcome any challenges. Today, he is working as a data encoder and proudly earning a living as a productive employee.

“We’ll continue to advocate for employability with financial prospects for people with disabilities while promoting more open, diverse, and inclusive workplaces across the region. With the help of our FWD volunteers and partnerships such as the partnership with HI and LCDPFI, we are confident that we can play a part in generating change,” says Vita Guillen, FWD Life Insurance chief people and culture officer.