SM Cares holds nationwide PWD sensitivity training, promotes social inclusion in malls

August 03, 2021

SM Cares recently held its annual Sensitivity Training for Customers with Different Needs as part of continuous efforts to promote social inclusion in its malls, by educating its mall front liners on how to care for persons with disabilities (PWDs). The event was held on July 21 and 28 via Zoom.

During the two-day event, five of SM Cares' long-time partners in its PWD advocacy, shared their insights and best practices on how to treat differently-abled mall goers, which were presented in five key topics. A total of 13,796 attendees made up of security and maintenance personnel, mall receptionists, cashiers, and mall employees joined the online event, which was simultaneously held in 121 venues nationwide.


Resource speakers for day one focused on assisting people with physical disabilities.  Sebastien Saflor, President of Hard of Hearing Philippines talked about caring for the hard of hearing and deaf people; Arch. Jaime Silva, Chairman of the Accessibility Committee of the United Architects of the Philippines talked about caring for the blind and visually impaired, while Ms. Lita Evangelista, EVP and COO of Tahanang Walang Hagdan, talked about caring for orthopedically impaired individuals.

For the second day, the resource speakers were Ms. Mona Magno-Veluz, National President of the Autism Society Philippines (ASP), who talked about caring for people with autism and Ms. Agnes Lapeña, member of the Down Syndrome Association of the Philippines, Inc. (DSAPI), who talked about caring for people with Down Syndrome.

The SM Cares’ Sensitivity Training for Persons with Different needs is an institutional project of SM Supermalls which started way back in 2002 to promote a barrier-free and inclusive business environment. By conducting this annual training, we are creating a safer community for our PWD customers, while making our services better for them. This is part of our continuous learning process in order to better serve our communities,” said Engr. Bien Mateo, Senior Vice President for Operations at SM Supermalls.

"The late Henry Sy Sr., our founder, would always remind us of “malasakit” or mindfulness. This training is all about that. Through this Sensitivity Training, we want to understand our PWD customer. This effort is going beyond what was required to make sure that our malls are accessible,” added Almus J. Alabe, Senior Assistant Vice President for Customer Relations Services at SM Supermalls.

To further its advocacy on promoting an inclusive environment for differently abled persons in all of its malls, SM Cares will also be holding a similar training session for its mall tenants, slated for September this year.

The Sensitivity Training for Customers with Different Needs is just one of the many initiatives of SM Cares for PWDs. Other initiatives include: the annual Angels Walk in partnership with ASP, held every January in celebration of National Autism Consciousness Week; the annual Happy Walk in partnership with DSAPI, held every February in celebration of National Down Syndrome Consciousness Month; and the annual Emergency Preparedness Forum aimed at educating PWDs and senior citizens and what to do during emergencies. Through these initiatives, SM Cares supports the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals, particularly "SDG 10: Reduced Inequalities."

SM Cares is the Corporate Social Responsibility of SM Supermalls, with programs to support communities, promote social inclusion and care for the environment. Its advocacies include Programs for the Environment, Persons with Disabilities, Women & Breastfeeding Mothers, Children & Youth, Senior Citizens, and the creation of bike-friendly SM Malls.

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