Savola completes 90% of Universal Accessibility Project
- Saudi Arabia: Tuesday, November 20 - 2012 at 12:04
- PRESS RELEASE
The Savola Group has announced the completion of 90% of its Universal Accessibility Project, an initiative that covers all of its operating companies.
Working at full capacity, Almodon Urban Consultancy on Universal Design and Accessibility, the company contracted to implement the project across Savola's three core sectors; Food, Retail and Plastics, completed its Plastics sector work at the Savola Packaging Company located in the Industrial City, Jeddah, in only 71 days and handed over the project in September.
In the Food sector, Almodon handed over the Afia International Company project in October, while project work at the United Sugar Company in Jeddah Islamic Port is expected to be finished by the end of this month.
"We are delighted with the process in which our Universal Accessibility project has progressed, especially since it is indicative of the keenness of all concerned to make life easier for our customers and employees with disabilities," said Dr. Abdulraouf Mannaa, Group Managing Director of the Savola Group.
"By making our facilities accessibility friendly according to international standards we are enhancing the mobility of our customers and opening up a new world of career opportunities for this very important segment of Saudi society."
As part of the assessment process, The Savola Group contracted the Global Alliance on Accessible Technologies & Environments (GAATES) an organization with a vast experience in Universal Accessibility, to assess the Group's compliance and benchmarking according to global accessibility standards. GAATES will conduct the assessment in December this year and will issue a compliance and certificate in Dec 2012.
Based on the results of a survey conducted by the Makeen Center on its trainees with physical, visual and hearing disabilities, it was clear that persons with disabilities face many challenges due to the lack of a well-equipped working environment that can facilitate their mobility.
The Savola' Group MD added, "We will continue investing in similar strategic projects that will further create a better working environment for our people and we believe that this is the right thing to do." Dr. Mannaa continued, "We have seen a transformation within Savola as a result of this project not only in the facilities but within our people where this upgrade program was supported and managed by our internal teams from the various operating companies."
Accordingly, Savola commissioned Almodon, the first company in the Arab world to specialize in Accessibility, to custom design the Universal Accessibility project, which entails supervision, overseeing and management to prepare the Group's buildings and factories to become compliant with international standards for the mobility of persons with physical, visual and hearing disabilities.
Savola completed the first phase of this project during February this year under the supervision of Makeen Center for Empowering Persons with Disabilities. This initial stage included building a series of side slopes in front of the main entrances in a number of Savola operating companies, as well as changing the flooring colors to illustrate the beginning and ending of the slopes.
In addition, the emergency exits have been fully equipped with fences and protective edges on both sides, and a number of parking lots have been allocated, which are identified using different colors and symbols to indicate that they are for persons with disabilities. Other work includes markers on the roads to ensure safe mobility, special toilets, service facilities, meeting halls, cafeterias, and elevators.
The Makeen Center trains and qualifies persons with disabilities and then employs them within The Savola Group and its operating companies, as well as in other private sector organizations.
Supporting the CSR initiative, the Center engaged a team of European experts and specialists to train a number of Human Resources, Production, Financial and IT managers within the Group's companies on implementing a Buddy and Mentor system to help people with disabilities integrate in the workplace.
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