Puerto Rico government agencies and big companies from the private sector are rallying to help people with disabilities through a two-fold initiative backed by the Family Department.
The initiative, which benefits employees of the Corporation of Industries for the Blind and People with Disabilities and Mental Retardation (or CIRIO, by its Spanish acronym), will also spell out an improved financial picture for this public corporation under the Family Department umbrella.
Family Department Secretary Idalia Colón-Rondón announced Wednesday the signing of an executive order that directs Puerto Rico government agencies to buy cleaning products made by CIRIO employees who are partially or totally blind. The executive order also establishes that agencies will have access to a catalogue of products available through CIRIO.
The other side of the initiative involves the private sector. Thanks to a collaborative agreement between CIRIO and several retail chains, mops manufactured at CIRIO will be sold at Amigo, Walmart, and Sam’s Club stores.
“We are very excited with the alliance we have established with Walmart, Amigo and Sam’s Club to sell mops,” said the official, noting that these products are being sold to these companies through Puerto Rican distributor Ferdoc Inc.
“Now (CIRIO) employees will feel motivated and enthused with the possibility that their quality product will be purchased by Puerto Rican consumers,” said Colón-Rondón, during an activity at CIRIO during which she was joined by First Lady Wilma Pastrana.
CIRIO, which started its operations in 1948, runs a small manufacturing plant at its base in Santurce. Some of its employees have been with the corporation for 50 years, according to information provided by the Family Department.
In this fiscal year that ends June 30, CIRIO generated $200,000 from its activities. For next year, CIRIO expects to generate additional revenue of $262,800 per year with the sale of products to 56 Walmart, Sam’s Club and Amigo stores, according to the corporation’s own projections.
“The corporation fulfills an important function in providing people with a dignified jog in which they can prove their capabilities,” said Colón-Rondón.
A spokesperson for Walmart expressed the company’s satisfaction in participating in this initiative not only because it benefits people with disabilities but also because it is another way of promoting Puerto Rican products.
“This is another example of our support for Puerto Rican products,” said Corporate Affairs Manager Bruni Torres. She hoped that the initiative will also increase employment opportunities at CIRIO for people who might otherwise have trouble finding employment because of their disability.