Building Careers.. Building Hopes
“That’s not how they taught me to fold t-shirts, mama” exclaims Hamza enthusiastically. “Let me show you how it’s done, professionally!”
Hamza, a cheerful 21-year-old young man joined Sana for Special Individuals in May 2017, in the “Work Program” and was coached for three months to become an empowered and productive contributor to the work force. He is now a committed and active member of the House Keeping Department in the five-star Grand Hyatt Hotel, Amman - Jordan.
“I heard about the program through the Parent Support Group I frequent, organized by Sana for Special Individuals” explains Amal; Hamza’s mother, an agreeable lady whose kind face and tender voice says it all. “Sana organizes monthly meetings for us, as parents of peoples with intellectual disabilities, to teach us about their rights and how to claim them.”
The work program in Sana for Special Individuals was first launched in September 2015 in alignment with IM’s core values of economic empowerment, especially for marginalized groups. To August 2017, Sana has successfully coached and trained twenty people with disabilities, guaranteeing the employment of fourteen of them, helping in reducing poverty and playing an active and distinguished role in sustainable societal development.
“At the beginning, his coworkers were cautious and timid. I guess it’s because they have never worked in the same environment with a person with disability. But Hamza is so sociable and kind, that they warmed up to him in no time” says his supervisor, Mr. AbdelRazaq “I have a friend who has the Down syndrome, exactly like Hamza. My invaluable friendship with this man taught me to treat people with disabilities naturally and smoothly, and that’s how I treat Hamza, like my own son.”
“Article four of the Jordanian Law on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (2007) stipulates that public and private institutions employing 25 to 50 workers should employ one person with disability. If more than 50, then disabled workers should account for not less than 4% of the work force,” states Alia; Sana work program coordinator. “We build awareness around issues and rights of this nature, and our six-year old organization helps mobilize the community to form a collective voice and call for attaining these rights, supported by our IM partnership.”
Sana for Special Individuals works closely with other IM partners and organizations offering professional, educational or vocational training to people with disabilities, as well as reaching out to parents in the Parents Support Group to nominate interested and qualified individuals. Candidates then undergo further three-month on the job training and coaching in different areas with supported employment during the first month, and is gradually reduced, provided that the person with disability can perform their tasks independently. The second phase is potential full-time or part-time employment, with regular support from Sana for the employer and the person with disability, when needed. The promotion and reinforcement of the human right to work gives individuals, especially those marginalized, an opportunity to create or increase their income and raise their social status, thus realizing IM’s mission in eradicating poverty and exclusion.
“I am witnessing impressive improvement in Hamza’s personality” acknowledges his mother. “He has developed a new sense of motivation and drive. He wakes up full of energy and positive enthusiasm, a person with a well-defined goal, I believe. He is much more disciplined and committed to his schedule. The transition that took place during these past three months is remarkable, I can safely say that this experience has significantly built his self-esteem, independence and sense of responsibility,” she proudly adds.
“I am so happy to be working here and earning money” Beams Hamza. “I keep asking my supervisor to work longer hours, if possible. I want to surprise my mom and buy her a new big fancy house!” He confides in excitement.