Blind computer programmer: Disability not a hindrance in finding employmentCebu Daily News
WHY should companies hire blind people?
Rhea Althea Guntalilib, a blind computer programmer working at Smart Communications Inc., said it is normal for organizations to have apprehensions about employing the visually impaired.
“It’s not easy to hire blind people. When you have a blind person on your team, you have to make adjustments,” she said.
“But companies have to realize that we can prove our worth. They must see that we value our work more than the average person does because it is so difficult for us to land a job,” Guntalilib said during a career forum for the visually impaired held in Quezon City.
She said blind people possess two qualities that are important in the workplace – resourcefulness and the ability to focus.
“We have learned to become resourceful because we often struggle over things as simple as eating and going to the bathroom. Nagiging madiskarte kami,” said Guntalilib, who lost her sight at age 18 due to retinal disease. “We also do not get distracted easily. Even if someone makes funny faces in front of me, I will not get distracted because I cannot see him.”
Rhoda Santos, Guntalilib’s manager, said the 24-year-old computer science graduate seems determined to do her job well, and as independently as possible.
Smart hired Guntalilib last May after a series of interviews and a practical exam.
“When I learned that a blind person wanted to join my team, the question in my mind was not ‘Why should I hire her?’ but ‘Why shouldn’t I?’”, Santos said.
“I value the opportunity that Smart gave me, that’s why I work hard. Not only did they give me a chance, they also exerted effort to make my experience as smooth as possible. They provided special computer software for the blind and even conducted a sensitivity training for my teammates,” Guntalilib said.
“Smart is one of the few companies that hire the visually impaired. Mabibilang mo lang ang mga iyan sa iyong mga daliri,” said Raymond Reyes, president of Visionaries, one of the groups that organized the career forum.
Guntalilib advised the visually impaired not to lose hope that they would find a job.