Ava grew up in the beautiful North Eastern state of Manipur with his parents. He attended school classes but his intellectual disabilities limited him and it is unlikely there were any special needs teachers. After his Dad died he moved to Delhi to live with one of his sisters, her husband and their two young daughters. They all go out to work or school and Ava said he wanted to go to "the office too." MESH invited him to come for several hours each morning to help Krishna with some of the more repetitive tasks related to packing for export. As I knew he used to help his Dad fold newsletters I thought folding would be a good place to start and with literally thousands of these wonderful veggie bag sets passing through MESH there is plenty for them both to do.
The first day he felt a little unwell perhaps because he did not eat breakfast he was so excited. Subsequently he has been fine and we are delighted to hear from his sister that he is happy to be working and spending time out of the house.
Ava has Down Syndrome which is a developmental disorder caused by an extra chromosome. We hope that by giving him an opportunity to get some work experience that we might identify something he can do as a regular member of the team. If that does not work out at least this period with us (however long it is) will provide something on a CV which might lead to placement or work in some other place.
Taking on a person with disabilities for work experience is a great way to open opportunities that might lead to employment, will boost personal confidence, provide exposure in how to behave in the workplace and also provide family members with a little respite from care. We will start off without paying him anything, if he becomes productive then at the end of a month or so we will consider how to pay him for his work and efforts.
You can follow Ava on Facebook here