IT is not easy to live a life without vision. A simple visit to a restaurant is already inconvenient for blind people because they will always need assistance to make an order. There is a barrier between the blind community that keeps them from living an ordinary life, and this is what this project aims to tear down.

The Rotary Club of San Juan del Monte, in partnership with Jollibee Foods Corp. and Touch the Artist’s Vision, launched “Project Gift of Independence: Diversity, Equity, Inclusivity” in Jollibee’s Osmeña Boulevard branch, Cebu City.

This initiative aims to help the visually impaired community by creating large print menus integrated with the Braille system. These specially crafted menus are distributed to 53 designated Jollibee stores nationwide. This project launched on Nov. 16.

This initiative is a two-prong project. The first phase of this project involves sensitivity training for Jollibee managers, crew members and franchise partners of the Jollibee stores near Special Education (Sped) schools. This training will give them a glimpse on how to accommodate and connect with the visually impaired. It will help them provide a safe and supportive inclusive environment for their blind customers. The second phase of this project is the launch of Braille-integrated menus.

This project promotes empowerment towards the blind community, showing them that they are not outcasts of society. The Braille menus will serve as catalysts for the visually impaired to feel the inclusiveness of the community around them. It will remove the barriers to participation for the sightless. By being able to do more, they will know what it feels like to be independent as they order their meals without needing anyone to read the menu out loud for them.

The Rotary Club of San Juan del Monte initiated this project with the passion for helping the blind community.

Annette Esparaz, project chairperson, mentioned that this project was a 22-year long dream that started when the group first met the visually impaired community. The Rotary Club of San Juan del Monte was inspired by the unwavering perseverance that blind people demonstrate every day as they leave their homes and live life with a positive mindset that focuses on what they can do rather than what they cannot. Rotary Club of San Juan del Monte realized that it’s time to reach our hands towards the community and make them feel welcome in society.

This project, aptly named “Alagang Jollibee for People with Visual Impairment,” was launched in collaboration with the Jollibee brand of service, and the implementation of this project is revolutionary in the food industry, as it improves the dining experience of visually impaired customers, which is a first in the country.

There is no greater gift for the blind community this holiday season than the launch of these braille-incorporated menus.