People think that when they become disabled, they won’t have the chance to work again. But with “Give A Bag of Hope”, persons with disabilities (PWDs) are given a new lease in life with new jobs. It doesn’t stop there: their jobs involve creating products to be given to public school children so they can continue studying instead of dropping out due to lack of school supplies.
Give A Bag of Hope (GABOH) is a campaign by Convergys Philippines, one of the country’s top employers. While many private companies offer donation drives, what makes GABOH special is that it is an entirely employee-driven effort with impressive results. For its first run in 2015, P11 million worth of donations were gathered, which resulted in more than 22,000 bags given to kids. The following year, it generated 33,000 bags.
Now on its 3rd year, GABOH has generated P18 Million worth over 35,000 bags of hope, raised by more than 42,000 Convergys employees. And this won’t be possible without the PWDs from Tahanang Walang Hagdanan (TWH).
Convergys wanted to expand the campaign’s positive impact to a bigger sector of society this year, going beyond the public school children who will receive the bags of hope. It has partnered with social enterprises such as Tahanang Walang Hagdanan, which aims to help people with disabilities find a steady source of income. They manufacture a variety of things, including wheelchairs, educational toys, bags, and other items. For GABOH, they are providing the pencil cases and packing school
supplies into the bags.
Domingo Literal is one of the disabled from Tahanang Walang Hagdanan who is part of Give A Bag of Hope. Literal has been working with the NGO for 17 years and currently leads the operations for the project with Convergys. He shared that he was thankful that TWH accepted him because he had a hard time looking for a job after his accident. “Napakalaking tulong po ito para sa amin, kasi sa pamamagitan po nito kami po ay nagiging independent,” he shared. “Hindi na po kami umaasa sa aming mga kapatid, sa aming mga magulang.”
Literal adds that he finds joy working with GABOH because he knows the value of education. “Sana mag-aral po mabuti [ang mga bata] dahil kung hindi po tayo mag-aaral sa panahon na ito, napaka hirap pong magkaroon ng magandang trabaho. ‘Yung kinabukasan po natin ay nakasalalay sa atin. Kung ano po yung iniisip natin, ‘yun ‘yung destiny natin,” he said.
The sentiment is shared by Obet Sumayao, another resident of Tahanang Walang Hagdanan. He has been with the group for 30 years doing silkscreen work. He shared that through GABOH, he was able to provide for himself and his family.
Convergys has just completed raising the employee donations and is in the process of producing the bags of hope which employees will distribute to elementary pupils in about 30 partner public schools and communities nationwide, before year-end. This program has created a domino effect of positive energy: for the call center agents who donate portions of their salary and volunteer time, to the PWDs of Tahanang Walang Hagdanan who earn a living and support a community, and importantly, for public schoolchildren whose future is now filled with opportunities and a fighting chance at continuing their education.