Danwell P Esperas is a Personalized Social Support Officer under Humanity Inclusion Forward Together project in the Philippines

Continuing support for people with disabilities amid a pandemic

The COVID-19 crisis hasn’t stopped Humanity & Inclusion from providing personalized care for people with disabilities.  

Danwell P. Esperas full-time job is helping people with disabilities find gainful employment opportunities, something that often proves difficult due to discrimination, inaccessibility or stigma. But his work doesn’t stop there. As a personalized social support officer for Humanity & Inclusion, Danwell provides tailored follow-up care for people in Valenzuela, a city near Manila in the Philippines, helping them access community resources and take care of their mental, physical and economic wellbeing.

Danwell works under Humanity & Inclusion’s Forward Together Project: Empowering Youth with Disabilities in Asia, which aims to help people between 18 and 40 with disabilities access meaningful employment in Manila, Philippines and Jakarta, Indonesia.

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Preparing people with disabilities for the workforce

Danwell, a registered nurse by profession but a development working by heart, provides personalized social support that empowers project participants to learn more about themselves, improve their skills, access employment opportunities, and reach their life goals.

In May 2019, Danwell met a man who is deaf, with aspirations to work for a manufacturing company. Starting with an initial assessment, Danwell guided the man in creating a personalized action plan and provided advice on writing a resume and giving a successful job interview. After two weeks of coaching sessions, the participant landed a job, where he was also able to teach his co-workers the basics of Filipino sign language.

Covid-19 presents unique challenges

Unfortunately, like so many people around the world, Covid-19 pandemic plunged the man into a new and serious economic crisis. He lost his job, but Danwell continued to support him by providing sessions to cope with the trauma and information on accessing assistance from different government agencies. 

He is just one of the project participants who Danwell has continued to coach amid the pandemic through remote sessions on Covid-19 prevention and awareness, stress management, the importance of self-care, and how to access financial assistance and goods being provided by the government. Humanity & Inclusion’s Forward Together project also adapted its strategies to Covid-19 by providing cash transfers to project participants so they can afford basic needs like housing, food and medicine.

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Image: Danwell P. Esperas is a personalized social support officer for Humanity & Inclusion in the Philippines. He meets with participants in the Forward Together project, which works to connect people with disabilities to gainful employment. Copyright: HI