“Our disabilities do not equate to inability,” this was the answer of Mrs. Alicia Fabiaña, Project Manager of the Association of Differently Abled Persons, Inc. (ADAP) in Davao City, when asked about the best lesson she and her fellow Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) could share to the community.

Mrs. Fabiaña, or “Ate Alice” as she is fondly called, shared that the members of ADAP have always remained courageous and determined despite the challenges. At some point, some of them thought of giving up but Ate Alice has constantly reminded them that “God always provides.”

Ate Alice recalled the important role of DOLE XI in ADAP’s mission to achieve greater things. “DOLE XI was among the first ones who lent us a hand. From failure to success, they were with us every step of the way,” she said.

As early as 1998, ADAP has been a beneficiary of DOLE XI’s programs and services, particularly the DOLE Integrated Livelihood Program (DILP). The association was awarded with a total of Php 1,749,870.00 worth of livelihood assistance for the manufacturing of school desks and steel armchairs and tables, wrought iron forming and mass production of furniture and fixtures, and bread and pastry production.

“Even during the pandemic, when most of us lost our day jobs, DOLE XI helped us through TUPAD program,” she added. The members of ADAP became beneficiaries of the Tulong Panghanapbuhay Para sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers (TUPAD) Program and completed social community projects like cleaning and beautification of their respective barangays for 15 days with daily compensation of P396.00.

ADAP was also a beneficiary of the BikeCINATION Project: Bisekletang Pangkabuhayan of DOLE in 2021. The e-bike livelihood package was received by Mr. John Kenneth Floro, son of an ADAP member, who volunteered as a delivery driver for ADAP’s pastry products. The association was grateful for the said assistance as it allowed them to save money on hiring delivery services.

“With all these interventions, we were able to pay our monthly housing dues as well as the education of our children,” Ate Alice shared. She and her fellow members of the association live in a housing village project for PWDs through the efforts of National Housing Authority XI.

ADAP Multi-Purpose Cooperative (ADAP-MPC), the economic arm of the association, became an accredited co-partner (ACP) of DOLE XI in 2015 and was enrolled to the DOLE Sustainable Livelihood Framework in 2016. Now on its 18th year of productive livelihood operation, ADAP grew from 52 members in the beginning to a total of 150 at present. With an intention to upskill, the association has participated in several capability enhancement trainings and seminars conducted by DOLE XI and its partners.

On July 18, 2022, ADAP-MPC officially opened a grocery store in Brgy. Indangan, Davao City, in time for the observance of the 44th National Disability Prevention and Rehabilitation (NDPR) Week on July 17-23, 2022. ADAP’s new business venture was a result of diligence and faith of its members.

“We want the community to see this small enterprise of ours as a symbol of promise and aspiration,” Ate Alice added. “We did it because we learned to rise above our limitations. Again and again, we overcome challenges by believing in ourselves and finding support from others.”

Ate Alice shared that apart from helping their members, their new venture aims to help other marginalized and vulnerable members of the community by generating job opportunities. “We want to repay the kindness of the many organizations to our association by doing something good to others. Five years from now, we hope to have more grocery stores, create more jobs, and help more people,” she said with full of optimism.

Because of the successful outcomes and productivity of the members, the association earned recognitions from various award-giving bodies, including the national award for Best Livelihood Assisted Project-Group Category in Kabuhayan Awards 2015.

ADAP aspires to be an example to others as they reach for their dreams. More than that, the association hopes to impart the value of being grateful for the good things despite the struggles.

DOLE XI Regional Director Atty. Randolf C. Pensoy praised the unfaltering courage of the association to attain their vision.  “DOLE XI is proud of the milestones of ADAP, and we are glad and honored to be part of these. Seeing them rise to the challenge boosts our dedication as public servants to deliver our programs and services efficiently and effectively to the marginalized sector.”### MFKM