For the last 16 months, the Episcopal CARE Foundation (E-CARE) have experienced an exciting shift in their approach to disability inclusion. Although those living with disabilities had generally benefited from E-CARE’s community development activities, their specific contributions towards the design and implementation of the projects was not consciously sought.
|Episcopal CARE Foundation staff at the Orientation training. © ECP Used with permission, 2015|
This started to change in late 2015. With support from ABM, E-CARE arranged an orientation training for their staff, focusing on Disability inclusion in their programs. This training was the first of its kind for most, addressing topics such as the different types of disability, national laws that protect the rights of those living with a disability, and various ways to include those persons more fully into the social and economic life of their communities.
Among the 26 staff participants, there was a strong sense of appreciation for the contributions that those living with disabilities had already made in E-CARE communities, and ways were discussed about how this could be increased in the future.
As a result of the training, the Episcopal CARE Foundation developed a strong Disability policy, specifically seeking “the meaningful involvement of persons with disabilities in any community-development project, both in terms of participation in the planning, implementation and management of the project as well as access to its benefits.”
Another outcome of the training was that E-CARE sought to work directly with a ‘Persons with Disabilities’ group in 2016, partnering on a new ‘Receivers to Givers’ project with the Barangay Natubleng Association of Persons with Disabilities. This group was organized by the local government of the municipality of Buguias, and includes five men and ten women members.
Listing assets with Barangay Natubleng Association of Persons with
One E-CARE staff member writes candidly about her experience in working with the group;
“Engaging with the group on the Asset-based Community Development activities is challenging and a learning process to me. Knowing of their disabilities, [I cannot help] thinking they might not be able to do the activities, but I was wrong. It can be observed with them their willingness to learn and slowly understand that they are also assets within themselves… Their willingness to partner and understand the policies of the Receivers to Givers program and to undergo activities and trainings shows that they also are looking forward for a change not only for themselves but also for the improvement of their organization in the community.
Through the Asset-based Community Development process and trainings, it gave the group motivation to push to think of livelihood projects they can engage with.”
ABM is proud to partner with E-CARE in providing opportunities for people living with disabilities to fully participate in the social and economic life of their communities.
|ABM Philippines Program Coordinator Lina Magallanes, and ABM Church to church Wilnor Flores, meet with the Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of North-Central Philippines (centre) and E-CARE staff in Baguio City during a monitoring visit. © ABM, 2016|