Nurturing a safe and inclusive working environment for PWDs
Based on the 2010 Census of Population and Housing covering the 92.1 million household population in the country, there are 1.44 million persons with disabilities (PWDs) in the Philippines, with numbers increasing dramatically worldwide. As recognized by law, this segment of the population is made up of valuable members of the workforce who contribute to economic growth and thus, need to be in an inclusive work environment so they can maximize their talents and abilities.
Leading insurance company AXA strives to consistently provide equal opportunities for PWDs. Inclusion and diversity are closely linked to the company’s values and its culture of respect for employees, customers, and communities. The company collectively works on creating an environment where everyone feels that they belong, are included, and can thrive. AXA also believes that different ways of thinking and varied experiences will be key for the company’s success in the long run. A diverse workforce also helps attract the best talent, because they know they can flourish at AXA and reach their full potential.
Across its different markets worldwide, AXA commemorated the International Day of Persons with disabilities via special activities, including the ‘Together we thrive’ Inclusion Conference. The webinar served as a platform for AXA employees and external experts on inclusion and diversity to discuss disability equality in the workplace. To further strengthen its thrust for diversity and inclusion, AXA Philippines also celebrated the International Day of Persons with Disabilities through Inclusion Fridays, a series of online and offline activities that promote an inclusive work environment for its employees.
“Experts say having a routine is important for PWDs, but the pandemic has disrupted that for many of them, especially those in the workforce. With our commemoration of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities and our annual inclusion event, we wanted to support the PWDs and empower them in the new normal. We hope that these activities will be an avenue to raise awareness on the importance and unique contributions our PWDs can bring to the company and the community at large,” said Rahul Hora, AXA Philippines president and CEO.
The event opened with online sessions on Inclusion Days with able@axa, AXA’s PWD employee resource group. It was followed by a deaf awareness education activity on how to communicate with the deaf using sign language, conducted by Raymond Manding of De La Salle College of St. Benilde of Deaf Education and Applied Studies department. The online session ended with a sensitivity training by Michelle Aventajado of Best Buddies Philippines, a non-profit organization with a mission of bringing friendship and inclusion to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
AXA Philippines also reached out to one of its partner organizations, Arko Pilipinas, a home for persons with and without intellectual disabilities, for their insights on the importance of commemorating the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. According to Arko Pilipinas, inclusion and immersion experiences are very important as they pave the way to raise awareness of the presence of the core members, and provide an opportunity for people to see the gifts, talents and skills of the PWDs.
In line with raising awareness via experiences, an on-site event also took place at AXA Philippines’ head office titled “Silent Shout Out for Inclusivity” featured a sign language photo session, Braille experience, and experiential booth for employees. Employees working from home were also encouraged participate in the event by sending their selfies while doing sign language. The selfies will be included in the ensuing photo exhibit.
An online disability sensitivity training was also organized by AXA Philippines’ partner, Project Inclusion, a non-profit organization that connects PWDs to opportunities and helps and teaches companies to be more inclusive. The training was facilitated by Patricia Carolino, Work Access Coordinator at Project Inclusion, and aimed to define disability, as well as teach practical techniques in communicating and interacting with persons with disability.
To know more about Diversity and Inclusion in AXA Philippines, visit https://www.axa.com.ph/multimedia/videos/diversity-and-inclusion-in-axa-philippines.