Standing in front of the birthday cake, we look back over the past year. With growth and experience, we hope we can live a better life after a year.
Wai-sze, one of the participants in 2017-18 “Work-based Learning for the Underprivileged Youth”, is a teenage boy with mild intellectual disability. He practiced at the iclub Hotel Human Resources Department. In his short ten-day work, he organized four birthday parties. He is not the one getting older for a year, yet we can see his progress and growth each time the birthday song is sang.
“He is attentive, responsible, hardworking, and coherent to work.” We talked with Wai-sze’s mentor, Jenny, a colleague from Regal, who praised Wai-sze’s performance. “It is very sweet of him remembering every words I told him. Minor thing like, at the beginning of work I have reminded him that most of the files from the Human Resources Department were secret and he has to flip the documents on the table whenever he leaves his seat. Major thing, like every task I have assigned to him. Wai-sze bears everything in mind and finishes them step by step.” It is Jenny’s first time in contact with people with intellectual disabilities, she summed up this particular experience:” If people have more confidence in them, these people will have more self-confidence and they, in fact, will be able to do the job.”
Knowing that his English is not very good, Wai-sze arrives at the company half an hour earlier every day to read and revise the English names of his colleagues written on a notebook again and again. Knowing that he may not be able to multi-task, he will finish a task first patiently before starting working on another task. Wai-sze is quite passive and he just sits and waits for instructions at the beginning. Later, even without a mentor’s help, he takes the initiative to distribute the birthday cake, clean up the desk and process documents. From being shy and afraid to communicate with people, to bravely talking, laughing and sharing life trivia with colleagues .
Those who are impaired are not incapable, nor can they just stay at home or at sheltered workshops. They can have their own places in the mainstream workplace as long as they have the right opportunity.