The recent Barangay Walang Iwanan 2019 Summit called attention to the challenges faced by members of the local disabled community. During a breakout session, entrepreneur Ryan Gersava discussed recent innovations that have brought new opportunities to those who face such challenges.
“Growing up with high dreams of becoming a doctor and realizing that I couldn’t become one because of a medical condition did not stop me from trying to do something about inequality in society,” Gersava said, who was diagnosed with Hepatitis B at a young age. “I started Virtualahan to create equal opportunities through technology.”
“At Virtualahan, we provide employment support, life coaching, and the promotion of everyone’s well-being,” he explained. “We train our community members to become community leaders, great examples to other PWDs (persons with disabilities), and encourage them to contribute to Virtualahan for us to grow as a social enterprise.”
Also speaking during the session was National Council on Disability Affairs officer-in-charge Carmen Reyes Zubiaga who discussed the need for opportunities in the disabled community.
“People with disabilities do not need pity; they need to be given opportunities,” she explained. “Change can only happen when local executives and policymakers work together to create more jobs, develop more entrepreneurs, and provide better access for PWDs in the workplace.”
The summit was organized by Gawad Kalinga and Paris-based non-governmental organization Agency for Technical Cooperation and Development./WDJ