All-inclusive: Local drugstore hires people with disabilities

Ryan Dee is one of a growing number of persons with disability (PWDs) now employed at Southstar drug. PHOTO: Screengrab from ABS-CBN News
Ryan Dee is one of a growing number of persons with disability (PWDs) now employed at Southstar drug. PHOTO: Screengrab from ABS-CBN News

We’re not exactly there yet, but it’s good to know that more employers are opening their doors for people with disabilities.

Late last year, Southstar Drug collaborated with Unilab Foundation’s Project Inclusion in launching its PWD hiring program. Since then the local drugstore has hired 24 PWD employees, with 5 of them working in the main office.

“The problem right now in our society is we look at the disability first and nothing beyond that. But we look at their potential and expertise first, and their disability just comes second,” says Michael Sabino, HR and admin division manager of Southstar Drug in a feature article by Smart Parenting

Like any other employee, the PWDs started their jobs under a probationary status and get a chance to become regularized eventually.

Their tasks? Organizing files, answering phone calls and even handling confidential information!

Southstar employees had to undergo trainings and orientations on how to deal with their differently-abled colleagues.

“I told them that they didn’t have to give these new hires special treatment (as part of their initiative to give equal chances to PWDs like any other employee). But they do become excited to help the PWDs out,” said Michael.

The PWDs at the store have a positive impact because they have an “uplifting effect” on the customers and other employees. Customer service has significantly improved because the PWDs have inspired their colleagues to become more emphatic.

Right now, only the Manila branches are employing differently-abled folks, but the company is looking to add more opportunities for them in the future.

“It will not stop here, it will go beyond,” said Michael. “We are hoping and pushing forward so that we can create opportunities for all PWDs out of this project.”

You may read the full article here. 

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