Stand amidst adversities

The Direction Association for the Handicapped set up a social enterprise that aims at creating job opportunities for those with limb disabilities and encourages them to show their potential. In 2013, it implemented the Adversity Quantity Training Programme to assist public and private organizations in improving their employees’ ability to tackle adversities.

Most members of the Direction Association for the Handicapped have serious physical disabilities. Yet, they uphold their will to transform themselves and contribute to society. In the face of Hong Kong’s drive to encourage people like them to engage in work and help the rehab sector to set up social enterprises, Rabi Yim, the Association’s vice-chairwoman and her team, came up with the idea to set up their own social enterprise and lend their members a helping hand.

Rabi’s team encourages and facilitates job engagement for the seriously physically disabled, helping them build their self-esteem and achieve economic independence and self-sufficiency. The social enterprise is also a means to prove that—so long as there’s a chance—it is possible for the physically disabled to live up to their civic duty, contribute to society and be a true part to it.

On Valentine’s Day, 1998, Rabi endured a serious car injury, which cost her all of her senses and mobility below her chest. Determined, and with the support of therapists, friends and family, she put tremendous effort in undergoing treatments which included writing, drawing and taking care of herself. She even saw her dream come true by working in graphic design and volunteering. After her time at the hospital, she managed to live by herself and lead an independent life with work, training, social gatherings and travel.

Through her experiences, she hopes to encourage everyone to live well, no matter what. Since 2007, Rabi and her team have been lobbying private organizations to recruit people with serious physical disabilities. Later, a scheme was launched to promote the use of home-offices for these people. Another year later, they set up a social enterprise management team to explore the work model for those with limited mobility—the fledgling form of the Association’s current social enterprise.

At the start, all we did was mainly sell souvenirs. It was essential to maintain customer relationships and ensure service quality,” says Rabi.

Today, the Association’s social enterprise offers a diverse range of services, including web development, animation, design, and selling souvenirs. It employs a person with serious physical disabilities to be the project officer, responsible for business decisions and day-to-day administration.

Ivy Leung, the social enterprise’s project manager, says pitifully:

“It’s difficult nowadays for someone without any disabilities to find a job in which they can be themselves—let alone someone who is physically disabled. That’s why they grasp every opportunity and value it so much. The Association feels glad to help create job opportunities for them in different ways.

DBS Social Enterprise Advancement Grant aims at scaling up the business development and impact of local social enterprises. In 2014, the Grant provided a donation to the Direction Association for the Handicapped to strengthen its training for Life Fighters to become professional trainers and produce materials to help promote the Adversity Quantity Training Program to more organizations; public and private alike.

“Life impacts another life,” Rabi says. “That continues to be our belief in the Adversity Quantity Training Program, in which more commercial institutions can share the stories of the ‘Life Fighters’. It’s not just about sparking positive energy for society, but also about job opportunities for the physically disabled. We hope the Direction Association for the Handicapped’s social enterprise can become a win-win and sustainable business.”

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