As part of its mandate to protect and promote the welfare of all Filipinos, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) continues to empower persons with disabilities by enabling them to become more productive members of society through its Centers and Residential Care Facilities around the country.
Among the facilities of the DSWD that exhibit this goal are the Rehabilitation Sheltered Workshop (RSW) and the National Vocational Rehabilitation Center (NVRC), both located in the National Capital Region.
Annalyn Bautista Luyao, 45, from Quezon City, is one of the individuals who have benefited from the services and interventions provided by the centers and facilities intended for persons with disabilities, such as the NVRC and RSW.
“Iba pa rin pala na may center para sa PWD, nailalabas mo talent mo” (It pays that we have centers for persons with disabilities that hone our talents), Annalyn said.
As someone who had a deformed leg after suffering from polio in childhood, her narrative proves that the DSWD has become a lifeline for persons with disabilities, especially with the struggles and challenges they face on a daily basis.
Enhancing skills with no limitations
While listening to a radio program during siesta time, Analyn learned about the centers for persons with disabilities that are being run by the DSWD, offering skills training. After hearing about this good news, she inquired at the NVRC located at J.P Burgos St., Project 4, Quezon City.
Analyn, then, got officially enrolled in a Fashion Technology course at the NVRC in 2006. She underwent one year of training to learn tailoring and dressmaking, and enhance her skills in socialization and work ethics.
The NVRC, as a learning environment for persons with disabilities and other vulnerable groups, aims to help its enrolled trainees achieve the best possible adjustment to their disabilities and work toward social reintegration. It also aims to develop the independent skills and positive attitude of the trainees.
Analyn was evaluated by the trainers and social workers at the center to be enrolled in the course of her choice that also best suited her talents. She was also trained through a series of in-person classes and homeschooling, helped with her on-the-job training, and assisted with job placement.
After her graduation, Analyn went to the hometown of her husband in Samar, Leyte. There, she was able to use her training to find an employer. Analyn was then able to work in a local dress shop, as ‘mananahi’ or seamstress.
“Kung ‘di sa NVRC wala po, hindi ako marunong [manahi]” (If not for NVRC, I will not be able to learn dressmaking), she said.
Aside from Fashion Technology, which Analyn took, the NVRC also offers courses such as computer software, electronic servicing, hotel and restaurant services, housekeeping and janitorial services, massage therapy, and beauty services, among others.
Currently, there are 170 individuals enrolled in the different courses offered by the NVRC. Furthermore, over 140 have already graduated last 2022.
Inclusive and sustainable employment
When Samar, Leyte was devastated by Typhoon Yolanda in 2013, Analyn, together with her husband and two children, went back to Manila with hopes of recovering from the disastrous effects and that they could start a new life in the city.
However, Analyn experienced difficulty in applying for a tailoring job due to her condition.
“Noong una kapag nag-apply ka sa labas parang hindi ka tatanggapin kasi PWD ka” (When you apply for a job, you will not be accepted because you are a person with disability), she shared.
Until Analyn tried to apply at the RSW, where she also had her internship for her fashion technology course during her training at the NVRC. Since 2017, she has been employed at the RSW, practicing her expertise in tailoring and dressmaking.
For her, the opportunity of a sheltered employment, given by the RSW, is beneficial and helpful for someone like her, who has a disability. Analyn is grateful to work in an environment where discrimination has no space and where she and her workmates are given equal opportunities for livelihood.
“Nagagamit ko sa pang-araw-araw ang aking kinikita dito [sa RSW]” (I am able to finance our daily expenses with the help of RSW), Analyn shared.
In RSW, sheltered employment provides productive work and income-generating activities for its project workers, including Analyn. It is a business-work-oriented facility of the DSWD that offers employment opportunities for persons with disabilities so they will become gainfully engaged in productive work, hence contributing to the community.
Some of the projects in the facility include the production of wood and metal products, garments, and silk screens, among others. To date, there are 105 project workers in RSW who are provided with livelihood opportunities.
Analyn’s story proves that the DSWD, through its centers and facilities, empowers persons with disabilities to become contributing members of society, and economically sufficient by providing equal opportunities for all, regardless of status, and condition.