Being treated as a talented staff member in designing, analysing, and coding IT systems
Nguyen Van Giap owns the OneDay company, providing IT solutions through website development, software engineering, and other IT services to support persons with disabilities and other disadvantaged people. A 2010 graduate of the USAID-funded Information Technology Training Programme (ITTP) specializing in software engineering, was working as a key programmer at Viettotal, Ltd., an IT company, until early 2016. There he demonstrated his great passion for IT and his ability to collaborate well with his non-disabled colleagues. At Viettotal he was treated as a talented staff member regardless of his being confined to a wheelchair. His daily job involved designing, analysing, and coding IT systems, as well as training clients in the use and maintenance of such systems. Each year he would run four to five major projects on the management of software, which required advance IT techniques and team-work, and which were aimed at a large number of users.
Giap’s life has changed since he joined ITTP. He is no longer dependent on his family for support, and he has more friends with and without disabilities. He has been recognized by employers and colleagues as a committed, competent, and loyal staffer. More recently, and with great support and encouragement from his employer, Giap set up OneDay – realizing his vision to expand the abilities of persons with disabilities.
„Ich bin stolz, welches Vertrau- en meine Arbeitskolleginnen in mich haben.“
Mir geht es bei der Arbeit um einiges besser als die Jahre davor. Ich berichte euch von meinen Tätigkeiten: Meine erste Tätigkeit besteht darin, die Bankauszüge und eventuelle Einzahlungen bei der Bank abzuholen, die Rechnungen in die richtigen Ordner beziehungsweise in die richtigen Betriebe abzulegen.
Bei insgesamt 14 Betrieben gar nicht so einfach, würde ein anderer sagen, aber ich habe auch super Arbeitskolleginnen, die mich bei der Arbeit unter- stützen. Es geht bei solchen Rechnungen auch teilweise um sehr hohe Geldbeträge, und wenn der Wirtschaftsprüfer kommt und solche Rechnungen nicht ndet, die er braucht, bekommt die Firma was zu hören. Das ist nie gut für das Geschäft und deshalb bin ich auch so stolz, dass mir meine Arbeitskolleginnen solches Vertrauen schenken, auch wenn ich Schlampigkeitsfehler mache. Ich helfe auch sehr gerne meinen Arbeitskolleginnen bei ihren teils sehr schweren Arbeiten. Dann gehe ich aber auch Kaffee für meine Ladies holen, wenn sie wollen.
Ich zerkleinere auch entweder jeden Freitag oder jeden Montag die Papierkisten, leere die Mistkübel aus und stecke neue Abfallbeutel in die Mistkübel, oder ich mache anderweitige Arbeiten die gerade anfallen.
Ich bin einfach stolz und glücklich zugleich eine Arbeit zu haben und freue mich schon total auf das neue Ar- beitsjahr. Auf neue Herausforderungen, alte Gesichter, neue Gesichter und vielleicht sogar etwas mehr?
“Happy that our skills and abilities are valued in our new roles.”
Leaving home and relocating to a new region in the Kingdom to find a job is not an easy decision for any person. We lived in Jazan where we looked for employment, but we could find no suitable job vacancies. So we were faced with a tough decision: We could stay in Jazan and continue our unsuccessful job search, or we could relocate somewhere with better job prospects. Motivated to find work and focused on our career goals, we decided to expand our horizons and move to another region.
We considered that a move to the eastern province might give us greater opportunities. To this end, the Human Resources Development Fund worked with and supported us to find suitable and sustainable positions. After our initial training, we quickly settled into our new jobs as a receptionist and an accounting assistant. Today, we are happy that our skills and abilities are valued in our new roles, and that our five-day work week allows us to visit our family in Jazan at the weekend.
On the path to economic security and a strong voice in the community
Maya, 36, is a single mother of four children and the family’s bread winner. Poliomyelitis infection at the age of five affected her with neuromuscular paralysis, taking away her ability to stand or walk independently. Maya also lost her husband to tuberculosis, and the responsibility of four children then fell solely upon her.
With no marketable skills, finances, or assets, and with only a fifth-standard education, Maya appeared to have no income-generating opportunities. But today Maya is part of a disability-inclusive organic agro-enterprise project, supported by CBM, the international Christian development organization. Maya is also a budding shop-owner, processing locally grown organic produce. Specifically, she has been trained in the marketing and packaging of organic spices that are grown by her and other farmers.
One of the main features of the project is that of bringing individuals and the community together so that they can access government schemes designed for the poor and for people with disabilities. The livelihood project has not only set Maya on the path to economic and food security but it has also established her as a strong voice in the community.
“Recently, it was I who taught a new fellow how to do the job!”
In 2014, Diego Villagra signed his first employment contract – a milestone in his adult life. This is certainly thanks to his perseverance and persistent family support, but also thanks to the SKBergé company’s commitment to the integration of persons with cognitive disabilities into the workplace.
Diego has made good progress in carrying out his daily activities, including traveling a long distance each day to work via public
transportation. Once at work he performs the duties of a warehouse assistant; and after nine months of internship, during which time he received a living wage, he became a member of the permanent SKBergé staff.
This initiative of labour integration is bringing slow results, yet for Diego it has become an enriching experience that has allowed him to exhibit all his abilities. As he noted, “I like working and it is easy getting along with my companions, working in teams. Even more, recently I taught a new fellow how to do the job!”
“I tell them that they must persist in their job interviews.”
I’m Yolanda Viera Zalazar, now 54 years old. When I was just six my mother took me to a nursery because she had to travel to visit her sick mother in another town. In this nursery a man came to make some pyrotechnical games, but he forgot some of his equipment in a room. My friends and I entered into the room and started to play with the equipment when it exploded in my hands.
Today I work for Ecuador’s Labour Integration Service, where I help persons with disabilities to find a job. This is the most important part of my life – to help persons with disabilities, to tell them that we can be useful to society and that we mustn’t allow ourselves to be discounted. I tell them that they must persist in their job interviews – not only to help themselves but to help their families a well.
Currently I am studying English, and my dream is to obtain a college degree, even at my advanced age. If I couldn’t do it when I was young, I will do it today – and I will do it, because it is useful to have a degree. I want to continue to work and to help people, and I thank my colleagues and friends for supporting me. The only things that persons with disabilities need are love and understanding, and I think it is beautiful to work towards those goals.
A blind shepherd boy, now with full employment at a high school
Lukas Zida was born and raised at Boditi Woreda, a short distance outside of Wolaita town. As a young shepherd boy, Lukas was attacked by an angry cow, which resulted in his total blindness. Although his father lost hope for the boy’s future, by studying hard Lukas managed to graduate from secondary school, and then from Hawassa University with a degree in sociology in 2014. After graduation, however, Lukas was frustrated by lack of employment. He found it difficult to cover the cost of transportation and a personal assistant to apply for announced job vacancies. Worse, even when he did apply he was always turned down by recruiters because of his disability.
Fortunately, it was at this moment that Lukas was recruited by the Ethiopian Centre for Disability and Development to be a beneficiary of its Inclusive Skills Training and Employment Programme, funded by the US Agency for International Development. The programme offered Lukas three days of job search training before placing him in an internship in a government bureau for six months. During the internship, Lukas was provided with an allowance to meet the cost of transport and a personal assistant. The training and internship helped Lukas develop his work capacity by equipping him with both theoretical knowledge and on-the-job training in a formal working environment.
After successfully completing his internship and passing an exam, Lukas is currently employed at Otana High School as a student counsellor. As he reports, when he returned to his village for the first time after being employed, the residents were amazed at his success.
“I never gave up my passion or my abilities regardless of what I was told by others!”
For 24 years I was employed in childcare, where I was known as trustworthy and loving by parents and kids alike. Sadly, I was forced to leave this job due to Vermont’s credentialing of child-care staff. With no certification, I was unable to keep my job as a primary care provider, a huge loss to my employer and to me. Determined to save my career, I explored accreditation classes, but the faculty assumed my disability would prevent my successful completion. Again, I was distraught and I felt disrespected. I lost a career where I excelled!
I moved to a janitorial job, but never stopped believing in myself and my love of children. I babysat on the side and could often be seen around town with my small charges. What came next is due to my resolve to hold onto my dreams. Hearing of my child-care skills, Middlebury’s Parks and Recreation Department hired me for their ‘Tot Time’ programme. I quickly advanced to the summer camp programme, where I was re-united with a child I had cared for years earlier but who was now to be my co-worker! I advanced in my position, and was key in helping create the Special Olympics Young Athletes programme, in which I am a mentor.
My dedication to childcare rings clear in the words of my director: “Mary is very reliable, she never says no, is always early for work, and often stays late. Dustin and Mary are two peas in a pod, always laughing and joking with each other. Everyone loves Mary and we are never going to let her go!” Although forced to leave a job in which I expected to retire, I re-shaped my career with a team where I am respected and loved. I never gave up my passion or my abilities regardless of what I was told by others!
Vuyane Mondla is 41 years old and is currently one of two Team Leaders in the garden pot centre (producing garden boxes etc.) of Training Workshops Unlimited, a non-profit organization that provides developmental and career path training for adults aged 30 to 45 with intellectual disabilities. For the past 18 years he has been a trainee, progressing through the career path.
“I have learned so much about the cement and concrete trade while being a trainee at the garden pot centre. As one of the guys who have been here the longest, I enjoy teaching the new trainees skills that I was taught over the years. When we reach our target goals at work and I get the full wage my two kids are very happy because I can buy some extra luxuries for them to take to school. I also budget and save for special times such as Christmas. If I had the money and equipment, I would open my own business and get guys to work for me!”
“I got there because of my hard work and determination”
My name is Tiffany Cater. I had cancer when I was six years old, and towards the end of my treatment I contracted encephalitis, which caused brain damage. I lost my hearing, vision, my walking ability – I was in a wheelchair for two years.
I currently have a developmental disability and a hearing impairment, but I haven’t let that hold me back. After graduating from college I got a job at a day-care centre with the assistance of Community Living Sarnia-Lambton. I started out in a “floater” position, just filling in where they needed me, but eventually they were able to find me a full-time position in the infant room.
Today, I am a regular staff member and do everything every- body else does. By taking advantage of services that were offered in my community, I reached my goals and I am now independent. Even though I needed a little bit of help, I got here because of my hard work and determination.