Women aid workers --- stories of women humanitarian workers with disabilities (Jen Mendoza)
As a Technical Adviser for the Forward Together Project, she helps companies and organizations jumpstart their workplace inclusion initiatives by facilitating training on disability awareness and inclusive recruitment and coach managers and supervisors. As Accessibility Focal Point, she also helps ensure that all HI’s efforts are physically and digitally accessible for persons with disabilities.
One of the most pressing concerns for persons with disabilities during the COVID-19 crisis is the loss of employment. According to Jen, there is a need to continue supporting companies in their inclusive recruitment initiative and identifying other employment opportunities for those whose livelihoods have been disrupted by the crisis. Jen helps our local government partners ensure that their COVID-19 prevention strategies complement accessibility requirements, and do not disproportionately exclude their constituents with disabilities. In her spare time, she also does a lot of volunteer work, regularly distributing relief goods and participating in targeted information drives for urban poor communities.
“As a woman with a disability, I’ve experienced firsthand how alienating it is to be constantly excluded from a mainstream society based on my gender and disability. I entered the humanitarian sector to do what I can to break down the barriers that prevent fellow persons with disabilities from accessing the necessary support that they need to live full, meaningful, and independent lives. I want to prove that persons with disabilities are not just recipients of charity but are active creators and decision-makers capable of contributing talents and skills to society.”