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PLDT, Smart expand opportunities for PWDs

“Through IDEATe, we help persons with disabilities develop skills that will help them accomplish essential tasks independently and offer alternative, tech-enabled ways of doing business,” said Stephanie Orlino, AVP and Head of Stakeholder Management at PLDT and Smart. 

PLDT and its wireless unit Smart are opening livelihood opportunities for persons with disabilities through their Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Advocacy through Technology or IDEATe program. The two companies are also helping persons with visual impairment maximize their smartphones to assist them in daily activities. 

“Technology can be a great equalizer. It improves the lives of persons in unique circumstances. Through IDEATe, we help persons with disabilities develop skills that will help them accomplish essential tasks independently and offer alternative, tech-enabled ways of doing business,” said Stephanie Orlino, AVP and Head of Stakeholder Management at PLDT and Smart. 

The PLDT Group tapped ATRIEV, the prime ICT specialist non-profit organization that empowers visually impaired persons through technology-enabled assistive programs, to offer a course on Digital Business Basics to around 30 participants with different disabilities in Dasmariñas City in Cavite where they learned how to start and boost their livelihood with the help of technology and social media. Topics included branding, connecting with target market, fund sourcing, pricing and costing. The module also featured social media marketing and financial literacy.  

Catherine Tomas, a 41-year-old online seller with orthopedic disability, acknowledges the importance of technology, “Social media platforms help expand our reach. New technologies can level up our business.” 

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Ricardo Meneses, Jr., a 53-year-old father who was born with polio, looks forward to opening his own junk shop, “I am grateful that I learned how to write emails. It will be more convenient to schedule pick-ups with my customers.” 

All-in-one digital bank Maya also shared with participants the different solutions it offers to help small- and medium-scale businesses process payments. 

PLDT and Smart also held a separate IDEATe seminar on Android Accessibility Suite in Valenzuela City. Conducted by ATRIEV and attended by around 30 participants mostly with visual impairment, the free training focused on operating Android devices with the help of a TalkBack screen reader.  

These training programs are also supported by the Persons with Disability Affairs Office of Dasmarinas City in Cavite, the DepEd School Division Office of Valenzuela, and development partners, NORFIL Foundation/Liliane Fonds and Voice Philippines. 

The IDEATe activities are aligned with PLDT and Smart’s commitment to help the country achieve UNSDG No. 10 on reducing inequality by empowering and promoting the social, economic and political inclusion of all, including persons with disabilities. They also underscore the PLDT Group’s commitment to innovation and digital inclusion, and to assist in the government’s key digitalization efforts. The PLDT Group is a founding member of the Digital Infrastructure pillar of the presidential Private Sector Advisory Council or PSAC.

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