Saturday, August 15, 2009

Business Engagement of Persons with special needs

Li Novak

Belgrade, July 30 ( Serbia Today) - According to the established Law on professional rehabilitation and employment of persons with developmental disabilities, disabled people could not be full-time employees. But the integration of individuals with special needs into working and social environment is a great possibility for full inclusion and participation in the community.
Social-humanitarian organization which deals with this issue is KEC MNRO – The Creative Education Center for people with Developmental Disabilities. It is supported by the Ministry for Social Welfare and the Fund for Social innovation. One of the Center’s primary goals has been to introduce a program for the integration of people with developmental disabilities into society, through assisted and full employment in public places, the local community and in social and private organizations. It is the best form of rehabilitation and therapy and at the same time the most successful form of integration into a social environment. Margareta Kecman told Serbia Today that companies and institutions which give their contribution to the work engagement of people with mental difficulties are: Home Center, Clinical Center Belgrade, Parking service, the Jewish Community of Belgrade, McDonald’s restaurants, Roggenart bakeries and Delta Holding. The ultimate goal is for each beneficiary to be contributing members of society. Collaboration between KEC MNRO and McDonald’s restaurants began in 2004 and in this time more than 40 young people with developmental disabilities have taken part in the assisted employment program and 2 are employed full-time. From 2006, 9 of KEC MNRO’s beneficiaries have been carrying out various tasks at the Parking Service Belgrade including: courier, making coffee, photocopying, housekeeping and washing cars. In the Jewish municipality they work as assistants in the kitchen, in the Clinical Center they are engaged into maintaining hygiene, transport of patients in the clinic and ordering of documentation. In Home Center and Delta Holding stores they are assistants in the sales.
According to Ms. Kecman, 7 people are fully employed because they have so-called "business ability" and the opportunity to sign a work contract. But most of them, 80 people, are engaged in the process of work socialization and inclusion, because of the limitation of established law.
In our country, we expect a lot more effort on creating a better environment for marginalized minorities and creating a more humane society. KEC MNRO’s mission is to create partnerships with the immediate and wider community in order to help every person recognize their own potential, talents and strength so that they can contribute to a better life in their own community.

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