We Can Do It!

04/11/2018 Posted by Ateneo SPEED | Awareness, Highlights, News

In a study conducted by the Philippine Institute for Development Studies, many Persons With Special Needs (PWSNs) believed that there are no work opportunities for them.

They are not wrong to think this way, for we do not often see PWSNs working as we do our daily coffee run, or when we are out malling with our families. According to the study, they lack the self-esteem to interact with other people when they work. But that is where the problem takes place. In order to encourage PWSNs to apply to work, we must show them that they are welcome, safe, and accepted to be in the workplace. In an effort to support this advocacy, Ateneo’s Special Education Society (SPEED) produced a project entitled: A Special Cafe where the org showcases their belief in PWSN employment.

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The photo was taken by Kylle Gaerlan

A Special Cafe or ASC for short is one of SPEED’s finance project aimed to show inclusivity and acceptance for PWSN workers and employees. It was set in Colayco Pavilion initially the whole week of March 19, 2018, but due to the suspension of classes, the project started on the 2oth of March and ended on the 23rd. Here, the Ateneo Community was able to buy and order coffee and pastries just like how they would in a regular cafe. But knowing SPEED, they created the cafe with special twists like giving it a classy European theme, where one was greeted by the flags of European countries, tables lined with the iconic red and white plaid and paper flower centerpieces, and when there wasn’t a live performance by invited student musicians, the ears were greeted with romantic European songs.

But of course, it wouldn’t be as special without the stars of ASC: the volunteers from Puzzle Cafe. The Puzzle Cafe, situated in Project 4, Quezon City, is a family-owned cafe that was built for their son, Jose, who has autism. Jose along with his other PWSN co-workers are able to hone and practice their social skills here by serving customers.

Photo taken by: Kylle Gaerlan

The photo was taken by Kylle Gaerlan

Both Puzzles Cafe and ASC provide an opportunity for PWSNs to showcase their potential to work and exercise their right to work just like everyone else.

Customers would find themselves with not only good food and coffee but also contributing to spread awareness for PWSNs because of their support for the project. Through efforts like these, PWSNs in the workplace are empowered and outsiders who haven’t experienced PWSNs in the workplace are presented with opportunities to change their perceptions about people with special needs, highlighting what they can do instead of what they can’t. Here is what we can do and here is where we stand for PWSN employment.

Source: Employment of Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) in the Philippines: The Case of Metro Manila and Rosario, Batangas [PDF]. (2013, January). Makati: Philippine Institute of Developmental Studies. Retrieved from https://dirp4.pids.gov.ph/ris/dps/pidsdps1313.pdf
Written by Brianna Cayetano, 1 AB Communication, an Aquarius defined by emotion and social constructs.