To support social inclusion for blind people in Mexico and improve their working conditions, Eyes Wide Open provides entrepreneurship training and creates new opportunities to become a successful vendor in Mexico City’s subway stations.
Why does it matter?
In Mexico City, people with disabilities are isolated from the labor market. Authorities seek to support social inclusion, including by providing allocated spots in the subway system where blind and visually impaired people can sell products.
How does it work?
With the support of the Danone Ecosystem Fund, Bonafont and its local NGO partner Yo quiero Yo puedo (Mexican Institute of Family and Population Research), the Eyes Wide Open project aims to train and empower blind and visually impaired people in Mexico City who sell various products in the subway stations. The project offers physical rehabilitation and entrepreneurship training to support the salespeople, build their life skills and enable them to create new sales opportunities; while bringing health and social benefits to not only the salespeople but also their families at one centralized location.
How does this project create value?
The project supports the recognition of blind people in Mexico and encourages their social inclusion, improving working conditions, revenues and fullness of life for blind people currently selling in the subway. Furthermore, because the number of sales stands approved by the subway authorities is limited, the project also supports other income generating activities for the blind and visually impaired individuals, including massage therapy certification. All of these individuals, as well as their children, grandchildren and other family members who they often support, are also able to access health, educational and social benefits.
“I was born blind, and since I am 7 years old, I started a long and continuous rehabilitation process. It hasn’t been easy, but nobody asked for it to be easy, just possible. Today I can even learn new languages. I speak a little bit of English, and I am currently taking Japanese and French lessons. Since I’m with the Eyes Wide Open project I’ve been able to develop skills as a handicraft artisan. I have also increased significantly my economic income reaching total independency. Thanks to the project, I even had the opportunity to make one of my dreams come true… I became a teacher! Over the years, I managed to understand that disability is not in the eyes, it is in the mind.”
Ana Maria, micro-distributor, Eyes Wide Open project, Mexico.
Photo credit: © Begona Medrano