My ideal world would be one were an eclectic mix of people could work, live and co-exist, side by side. People who are different should not be hidden away. They belong in our homes, communities and most importantly, in the workplace. Being able to work gives all of us a sense of value; knowing that we can be productive and can contribute to an end result. There are so few opportunities for people with intellectual disability to find employment and even fewer in an integrated environment. Inclusion benefits all of us, not only those who are perceived as different. While the disabled person gets to feel the sense of satisfaction of a job well done, the rest of us learn to appreciate the little things in our own lives and cannot help but be buoyed by their enthusiasm for life.
10 years ago, when Carrie joined our workforce, I had no idea what a groundswell we were starting. It has been life changing for all of us and most definitely, for me. From then, our business took a new direction and inclusion has become my passion. I believe that our model can be replicated in both factory and retail environments. Small to medium businesses are ideal for inclusion to be implemented as we have less red tape and fewer boxes to tick.
My hope for 2020 is for our business to continue to thrive in our challenging economy. This will allow us to retain our staff so that they, in turn, can support their families. I plan for us to continue to provide an inclusive workspace where our disabled staff can work, learn and thrive. We will continue to work with special schools by providing a nurturing environment for work skills training. I will not stop talking and cheerleading, to encourage others to see the benefits of inclusion.
Thanks to all of our customers who support Merrypak. Our business needs to work as a business first. We are not a sheltered employment workshop but rather a space where difference is celebrated and accepted. I can honestly say that Inclusion really does work.
Pics courtesy of liza_vandeventer