Since 2009, SM – through SM Cares – has been collaborating with the Philippine Foundation for the Rehabilitation of the Disabled to ensure that persons with disabilities enjoy the accessibility of services and facilities inside SM malls.
Headed by President Noli Agcaoili, PFRD aims to help promote the protection and rehabilitation of the disabled, as well as to equalize more opportunities for them. And Noli’s own story should serve as an inspiration for persons with disability.
Disabled since he contracted a very severe case of polio at the age of two, Noli nevertheless achieved success in his many endeavors in the automotive and real estate industry, health insurance, electrical equipment, property development, and management consultancy despite his condition and physical limitations.
Noli’s participation in PWD causes began when good friend and newspaper columnist Art Borjal convinced him in 1996 to become a Director of IMPACT Foundation, and a year later to become part of Tahanang Walang Hagdanan. It was also through Art that Noli became a director of the PFRD, which he now heads.
Through its partnership with PFRD, SM has – over the years – incorporated disabled-friendly facilities like ramps, wide aisles, special parking and restrooms – into the design of its malls. The friendly and efficient SM staff has likewise undergone thorough training on how to deal with persons with disability, making visiting the mall a joy for them.
SM has likewise collaborated with the PFRD on programs like Coping Skills Training for Parents of Children with Disabilities.
With this, the SM Cares Program on Disability Affairs received the Hall of Fame Award at the 2015 Apolinario Mabini Awards. The Hall of Fame Award, given for the first time, recognized SM Cares for its unwavering support in PWD programs and projects in compliance with PWD laws.
On behalf of PFRD, Noli believes that “people should know that SM has a big heart for persons with disability.” PFRD is able to sustain their projects for the PWDs with the help of organizations like SM who have established programs to meet the requirements of customers with special needs.