Envisioning “an inclusive society with empowered and productive persons with disabilities,” the Foundation for These-Abled Persons Inc. (FTI) decided to help the businesses in the Philippines designed to empower its persons with disabilities (PWDs).
The FTI is located in Quezon City and was registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) last June 19, 2009. One of its founding members, the National Federation of Cooperatives of Persons with Disability (NFCPWD), has been developing and supporting cooperatives owned and managed by PWDs themselves since 1998. It does so by providing a “working capital,” which is pooled from the funds it had collected, from the P4-million donation of the Cristoffel Blinden Mission (CBM), and from local and international banking institutions.
It had worked. Over the past 12 years, member cooperatives of the NFCPWD have generated about P80 million, most of which was from the Department of Education (DepEd), mandated as it was to patronize the pieces of school furniture manufactured and supplied by PWDs.1
Recently, the FTI has partnered with the San Francisco Association of Differently Abled Persons Multi-Purpose Cooperative (SAFRA-ADAP)2 for a reforestation project. It has also built an alliance with other organizations of PWDs (OPDs), non-government organizations (NGOs), and government agencies to establish PWeDe [People with Disabilities for Economic Development and Empowerment].
To date, the FTI has a P7.3-million budget. It plans to construct a 2-storey building in Don Mariano, Cainta, Rizal for office space and venue for trainings. It still needs, however, financial support from the Filipino populace. “We will be launching our fund raising,” shared Lolita Gelle, executive director of FTI, in an email. “We are requesting the public to donate school chairs and desk to public schools and at the same time help in the employment of PWDs since they would be the ones to manufacture the chairs and desk. Our cooperatives of PWDs also have airline ticketing and tour packages as one of the services.”
“We are a catalyst of change to enable organizations of PWDs to be economically self-sufficient and meaningfully participate in an inclusive and supportive environment.”~FTI Mission
1 Since 1998, the Department of Education (DepEd) has been mandated to reserve 10% of its annual purchases of school furniture to be manufactured and supplied by cooperatives of PWDs.
2 The San Francisco Association of Differently Abled Persons Multi-Purpose Cooperative (SAFRA-ADAP) is in Agusan del Sur.
Photos courtesy of the FTI