Equal opportunity work program brings PWD couple to Jollibee !-- -- MANILA, Philippines Bryan and Juwina Nebre look like any other happily married couple they are sweet and caring to each other and then there's the usual ribbing and teasing. But they are not the typical husband and wife.
In fact, even as individuals, they are different from most people. Bryan and Juwina Nebre are deaf-mute but unlike most people with disabilities, they are employed and earning like the rest of the regular working population.
The husband and wife team is employed with Jollibee Foods Corp. (JFC) Bryan, 37 works for Greenwich while Juwina, 30 works for Chowking.
Juwina, who is employed at Chowking in SM San Lazaro, works as customer relations staff. She cleans tables and attends to customer needs in the dining area.
Bryan does the same, but in the Greenwich branch just next door. Through a sign language interpreter, the couple said they are happy to be finally employed and in an environment where they don't feel discriminated.
"I need to save for my future so I looked for a job but every time I apply, nothing happens. I wait for a text and usually I don't hear from them (companies where she sought employment)," Juwina said.
Bryan has a similar experience. "When I give my resume, they always say, 'we will call you tomorrow' but they don't," he said.
Thus, they were happy to be accepted in the Jollibee group. They don't feel discriminated.
Both have pins on their uniforms indicating that they are deaf-mute. Juwina said the only hitch is that sometimes she finds it hard to communicate with other employees because they don't understand sign language.
However, it's not a problem because Bryan is just next door in Greenwich. They spend their break time together and are also together during lunch time.
Bryan and Juwina feel very empowered and are grateful to JFC. According to Juwina, other persons with disabilities can take inspiration from them.
"They shouldn't be ashamed and they should be independent. We cannot just rely on our parents," she said.
According to Bryan, persons with disabilities should try harder until they succeed and should not give up hope despite their situation. Bryan and Juwina's employment with JFC was made possible through a memorandum of agreement with the City Government of Manila in response to the call of Mayor Isko Moreno to employ qualified senior citizens and persons with disabilities.
JFC prides itself as being the first restaurant company in the Philippines to partner with the local government of Manila in providing jobs to over a hundred qualified senior citizens and persons with disabilities in the combined 39 branches of Jollibee, Chowking, Mang Inasal and Greenwich in the city. JFC Philippines Country Business Group head Joseph Tanbuntiong said the food group is proud to be part of the program.
"We are happy to support this program by the City Government of Manila because it reflects a common desire to advance the interests of the elderly and differently-abled by helping them to remain as productive members of the community," he said. Under the guidelines set by the City Government of Manila, the Public Employment Services Office (PESO) will pre-screen the applicants before endorsing the qualified candidates to JFC.
Applicants must also secure a medical clearance from the Ospital ng Maynila Medical Center, the accredited hospital for this program. Tanbuntiong said the partnership fits well in the company's plan to provide employment to Filipinos.
JFC, he said, is committed as a global Filipino company to provide equal employment opportunities to different sectors, while promoting and practicing inclusivity and diversity in the workplace. "We look forward to opening the doors of our stores in Manila to qualified senior citizens and differently-abled individuals who can join us in our mission of spreading the joy of eating to everyone," Tanbuntiong said.
Interested applicants can get more information on the employment program from the Manila Department of Social Welfare and the Office of Senior Citizen's Affairs (OSCA). JFC is the largest fast food chain in the Philippines and an emerging global player.
As of Sept. 30, 2019, the company is operating 3,238 restaurant outlets in the country: Jollibee (1,174), Chowking (602), Greenwich (282), Red Ribbon (489), Mang Inasal (586), Burger King (104) and PHO24 (one).
Abroad, JFC has 1,451 stores.
© Pakistan Press International, source Asianet-Pakistan