PEOPLE AND THE COMMUNITY
SM focuses on serving the customer and the community where every SM mall operates. The people in the community and in the mall—most especially the marginalized sectors of society—are given a voice and opportunity to be heard, through the various activities and initiatives of SM Cares.
PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES
The SM Cares Program on Persons with Disabilities promotes a barrier-free and disability inclusive environment. It ensures that SM becomes a place for all; and a place for all means no one gets left behind. Every Filipino, with or without disability, is welcome in SM. The SM Cares Program on Persons with Disabilities helps promote awareness, acceptance, and inclusion for the sector.
The program has been partners with a number of organizations that hold different initiatives to advance the best interests of PWDs in the community. Some of them include the National Council on Disability Affairs (NCDA), Autism Society Philippines (ASP), the Down Syndrome Association of the Philippines, Inc. (DSAPI), Deaf-Blind Support Philippines (DBSP), Center for Advocacy, Learning and Livelihood (CALL) Foundation of the Blind, Inc., the Philippine Foundation for the Rehabilitation of the Disabled, Inc. (PFRD), Movies and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB), and AKAP Pinoy, among others.
Some of the Program’s notable initiatives which were held in partnership with the above-mentioned organizations include the annual Angels Walk for Autism, Happy Walk for Down Syndrome, Special Movie Screening for the Blind and Deaf, White Cane Day for the Blind, Disaster Resilience Conference for PWDs and Senior Citizens, and special concerts for the benefit of the Filipino PWD. Similarly, all tenants, employees, and front liners are given orientations and training on how to handle customers with disabilities and special needs.
The SM Cares Program on PWDs have instituted key programs to address the needs of customers with special needs, which earned its reputation for being the most PWD-friendly establishment across the country. Our facilities have dedicated areas for parking and proper embarkation and disembarkation for PWDs, special restrooms, ramps, some have braille signs, designed areas for PWDs in cinemas, as well as utilities with accessible height like pay phones and wash room sinks.
Consistently over the years, SM Cares has been awarded the National Government’s Apolinario Mabini Hall of Fame Award for its Programs on Persons with Disabilities.
CHILDREN AND YOUTH DEVELOPMENT
The SM Cares Program on Children and Youth Development has established long-standing partnerships with various organizations that share the same advocacy, including UNICEF, National Youth Commission (NYC), Council for the Welfare of Children (CWC), Global Peace Foundation, AIESEC, the Department of Education (DepEd), Commission on Higher Education (CHED), the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Vibal Publishing House, and National Bookstore.
Some of the projects include the Drink for Two, held in partnership with UNICEF, where a portion of the sales of the SM Supermalls’ bottled water goes to the Project W.A.S.H. (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) program. This program provides a decent water system and basic sanitation in various provinces; the Adoption Consciousness Week project, where specialty booths are put up in selected malls, geared to assist families who are interested in adoption; the annual Global Youth Summit; National Children’s Book Reading Day event, held across all SM malls in the Philippines and in China, and the celebration of the International Youth Day.
In October 2016, SM Cares Program on Children and Youth partnered with the Council on the Welfare of Children (CWC) to raise 1 million pencils for underprivileged children across the country. The project raised more than 3.3 million pencils.
SM offers community programs for seniors to be more active, productive, engaged, and social. Aside from providing them with services for leisure and ease, SM also gives them opportunities that make them rediscover their self-worth in society.
Recognizing that senior citizens could still be productive members of society, SM Cares launched the Casual Employment for Senior Citizens program which gives senior citizens, 60 to 70 years of age, a chance to work in SM Malls nationwide. Under the program, they are given employment opportunities as greeters or ushers at the entrances, food courts and cinemas of SM malls. They work on Saturdays and Sundays on a four-hour shift that usually starts around 10AM when the malls open. To date, more than 1,300 senior citizens have been employed by SM.
Other initiatives include the regular Seniors Day at the Mall, held every 2nd Tuesday of the month where the seniors engage in fitness and dancing activities called Senior Moments which promote health and wellness for the elderly; livelihood projects; Walk for Life, an annual walk in celebration of the Elderly Filipino Week; Oldies but Techies – a program that teaches senior citizens the ease and functionality of modern technology and social networking; and the Pamaskong Handog for Senior Citizens (Christmas Tribute).
Some of the partners of the SM Cares Program on Senior Citizens include the Office of the Senior Citizens Affairs (OSCA), the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), and the Department of Health (DOH).
WOMEN AND BREASTFEEDING MOTHERS
SM promotes the proper environment and support for mothers to feel free to feed anywhere in our properties. With their critical role in life, women have their unique needs that should be recognized. SM not only addresses these needs but also highlights women’s significant roles in the family and in society through its various programs which recognize and celebrate their uniqueness and individuality.
The SM Cares Program on Women and Breastfeeding Mothers promotes breastfeeding to foster the natural bond between a mother and her child. Mothers are free to breastfeed anywhere in the SM properties. However, there are also 58 Breastfeeding stations across various SM Supermalls nationwide for their additional comfort and privacy. To date, the breastfeeding stations have already served 500,000 breastfeeding mothers.
SM has also been a venue for many breastfeeding and lactation seminars and conferences to encourage women to breastfeed. SM invites professionals who conduct series of talks on the latest trends and clinical and academic findings on breastfeeding, and inspirational lectures where they share the benefits of breastfeeding and address various lactation concerns.
Some of the Program partners include the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), the Department of Health (DOH), Natalac, UNICEF, the Australian Embassy, and the Philippine Commission on Women.
OVERSEAS FILIPINO WORKERS
The importance of the Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) to the Philippine economy cannot be overstated. The country depends much on their remittances, which help spur development and promote more inclusive growth. This is the reason why SM Cares has made the OFWs one of the focal points in its CSR initiative in order to give them the support, respect, and gratitude that they deserve.
Aimed at helping bring families together, its main feature is the establishment of SM Global Pinoy Centers in SM Malls nationwide. Today, 39 SM Global Pinoy Centers are in operation offering services that cater to the needs of the OFWs and their families, including free internet services, mobile phone charging, voice calls, beverages, BDO Remittance Pick-up services, and Foreign Exchange services by the SM Department Store.
Some of the major events of SM Global Pinoy include the celebrations of the National Seafarer’s Day and the International Day of the Seafarers, gathering close to 10,000 seafarers, maritime students, OFWs, and their families for both events.
Members are also treated to the annual Pamaskong Hangdog Para sa OFWs (Christmas Tribute) for the OFWs that fetes SM Global Pinoy members with a special Christmas program to honor and show them appreciation.
To date, there are 458,300 SM Global Pinoy members and the centers received a total foot traffic of 3,552,795 (since 2012).
Some of the Program partners include BDO Asenso Kabayan, the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency (POEA), the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), MARINA, Philippine Ports Authority (PPA), and the Apostleship of the Sea.
SM believes that social empowerment is achieved through entrepreneurship and education. For many years, SM has provided venues to assist start-up businesses by promoting and exposing them to the mainstream market. One such program is the annual Teenpreneurship Challenge, which has become a pioneering effort in teaching young students about entrepreneurship with social consciousness. For the past ten years, the Teenpreneurship Challenge has taught high school students the value of business innovation and compassion as well as giving fledgling businesses an exposure to the “mall market”.
SM has also been a venue for women entrepreneurs to showcase their products. Last year, SM was the partner of the Australian Embassy in showcasing the products of women entrepreneurs from around the country as a way to support their livelihood programs.
Indeed, to create empowered men and women, the community needs to invest in their education as well as provide them livelihood opportunities. And SM will continue to be their partner as they grow their business.