A hotel in the Philippines offers on-the-job training for persons with hearing and speech impairment, providing employment opportunities for people with disabilities.
Green Windows Hotel in Davao City, Philippines wants to ensure that while their city is developing, no sector in the society is left behind and that development is inclusive to all.
Pio Sto. Domingo of Greenwindows Dormitel says the organisation partnered with Deaf Ministries International to train people with disabilities in hotel housekeeping, adding that the hotel focused on intensive housekeeping due to the extreme attention to detail of students with hearing impairment.
“Our housekeeping supervisors said they’re really more meticulous in terms of cleanliness so they were immersed in the housekeeping department for most of the duration of their training.”
According to Mr Sto. Domingo before the program kicked off, their hotel staff underwent an 8-hour basic sign language course for them to be able to communicate with the differently-abled trainees.
“We were trained by the association to do basic sign language. As much as possible we would like them to feel comfortable when they’re in the hotel so we really prepared all our staff.“
He adds that while time spent with the trainees helped them to learn more about the language, it was also empowering to reach out to another sector.
“Time spent with them helped us understand the language but most of all learning how to use the sign language was empowering because it touches and reaches out to another sector in society.”
Working with people with disabilities
Mr Sto. Domingo shares that the trainees enjoyed what they are doing hence the work became easy.
“They really enjoyed interacting with our staff so it’s more of they enjoyed the company more than the work. Work for them was a breeze they were really enthusiastic.”
Although learning the sign language requires a lot of practice, it led their organisation to grow.
“I believe that we have grown because we have increased our communication tools.”
Crafting opportunities for people in need
Mr Sto Domingo shares they encourage more companies to follow their lead.
“Our goal is to open the minds of other businesses that there should be opportunities for all sectors in society. Of course, we are proud as one of the pioneers. But most importantly it gives me joy that other sectors are being accepted. I’m feeling more excited about their future because I believe they have a place in society.”
With the city's booming tourism industry, Mr Sto. Domingo believes that it is essential for the community to give all sectors an opportunity for employment to highlight their ability rather than disability.
“We need to craft the door for them to enter. With that, we want to give them employment for them to become independent.”
He hopes that someday trainees will be able to reach their full potential in the workforce.
“We have given them a certificate of completion and their own resumes. Their goal, for now, is to enter into college but we have opened this opportunity for them in case they want to work. They have the option.”
And just like other countries such as Australia who have taken the lead in ensuring that people with disabilities receive opportunities, Mr Sto. Domingo says they want the same progress for Davao City.
“We expanded to people with disability because we were inspired by what other countries do, we want to be inclusive in terms of development.”
"After all, everybody deserves an opportunity to become more than just a stereotype," he adds.