Employees of the global food and beverage company PepsiCo participated in an awareness initiative to teach sign language to the community. The aim was to highlight the importance of inclusiveness of people with hearing impairments, in line with the Listen to Me week.
Five PepsiCo employees encouraged people on Jeddah’s Tahlia Street to learn basic sign-language gestures. Passersby were taught how to express “hello,” “thank you,” and “goodbye” in sign language, and were rewarded for their efforts with PepsiCo brands such as Lay’s, Sunbites snacks, and Aquafina water as a gesture of thanks to those who took the time to learn how to communicate with hearing-impaired people.
Bander Albader, senior director of human resources at PepsiCo said: “We believe that a successful community is one in which every member has the opportunity to participate and thrive. Even being able to communicate in the most basic way, by saying hello, thank you or goodbye, has the potential to make someone with a hearing impairment feel more included. We have taken steps within our own company to ensure that we can provide opportunities for our hearing-impaired employees to succeed, including teaching sign language to our colleagues.”
He said as an inclusive company, PepsiCo provides opportunities to all members of society.
Since 2010, the company has incorporated practices that enable people with hearing impairment to integrate into the workplace, including a sign-language course that new employees are required to complete. Currently, PepsiCo employs more than 65 employees with hearing impairment.
In 2018, the company received Mowaamah certification from the Ministry of Labor, in line with the aims of the National Transformation Program 2020 to enable people with disabilities to integrate into the workforce.