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  • Writer's pictureVoltaire Santillan

Friends of Project Inclusion Network Envision a Bright Future for Individuals with Disabilities

Manila, Philippines — The Saturday of August 19, 2023, proved to be a landmark event for Inclusivity as supporters of Unilab Foundation’s independent program, Project Inclusion Network attended a benefit Brunch Fundraiser to raise awareness and gather support for the organization.

Esteemed broadcast journalist Karen Davila, in collaboration with former Justice Undersecretary Atty. Emmeline Villar, both esteemed board members of Project Inclusion Network (PIN), spearheaded a compelling brunch event themed "Inclusive Flavors: Celebrating Abilities, Cultivating Change." The gathering aimed to garner support for PIN's forthcoming initiatives dedicated to fostering a society that empowers, enables, and actively engages individuals with disabilities.

Distinguished figures from various sectors and industries in the Philippines graced the brunch, including former Senator Mark Villar and Department of Social Welfare and Development Secretary Rex Gatchalian. Notable attendees from various walks of life also lent their support for the event.

The brunch attendees were treated to inspirational speeches from ardent PIN advocates and heartfelt testimonies from individuals with disabilities, highlighting the universal significance of the inclusivity struggle.

Secretary Rex Gatchalian emphasized the essence of genuine inclusion, stating, "True inclusion transcends mere charitable giving; it hinges on society's authentic acceptance of individuals with disabilities."

Ian Borleo, an individual with autism who has seamlessly integrated into the workforce at South Star Drug for an impressive seven years, shared his personal journey, remarking, "At South Star Drug, I've encountered people who have shown me the patience and understanding I once only received from my family. I am treated as an equal contributor, much like my colleagues. Frankly, I cherish my job; it's my second home."

South Star Drug represents just one among many corporations that have partnered with PIN to foster inclusivity within Philippine workplaces.

Renowned celebrity Chef Jessie Sioncioco, a valued collaborator of PIN, graciously hosted the brunch at Palm Grove, Rockwell Club. Her team recently underwent disability sensitivity training by Project Inclusion Network to transform their workplace into a more inclusive environment for all persons with disabilities. Chef Jessie underscored the profound significance of PIN's mission in her life and her commitment to supporting the organization's future endeavors.

Noted developmental and behavioral pediatrician Dr. Francis Dimalanta articulated the critical importance of inclusion, proclaiming, "No one, irrespective of their disability, should be excluded from their community." He expressed his aspiration for broader segments of society to provide equal opportunities for individuals with disabilities to participate fully.

Grant Javier, the dedicated Executive Director of Project Inclusion Network, who has spent a decade uplifting individuals with disabilities, regardless of socioeconomic status, stressed (that), "At the core of inclusion lies 'us.' It transcends the efforts of a single individual, organization, or corporation. It's about collective collaboration, working in harmony to create an inclusive workplace and community."

PIN extends its gratitude to its event partners, including Chef Jessie Restaurant, Rockwell Club, For Keeps, and Unilab Foundation, for their indispensable contributions to this remarkable occasion.

- Sabrina Gasgonia

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