A visit made the warm winter warmer: recently, 16 students with special learning needs (SEN) visited our Central Office to discover the real business world and sharpen their interpersonal skills. I joined a lesson with them, examined myself and learned how to see others from a new perspective.
These 16 students from Po Leung Kuk Anita L. L. Chan (Centenary) School and the Nesbitt Center were undergoing a three-month extensive office skills training course jointly organized by an NGO HandsOn and social enterprise SENsational Consultancy, which allowed them to see an office environment, to gain job-hunting, working, technical, and communication skills, and get ready for a career like their peers. We were also delighted to have Ms. Cora Chu, CEO of Dialogue Experience, the leading social enterprise brand to share hands-on experience and insights about SENs’ work and life.
We often think SENs are those who need our care, but do you know sometimes they take care of us? Take “Dialogue in the Dark” for example, the No. 1 attraction in Hong Kong at TripAdvisor creates a dark and beautiful world, where we lose vision but the blind guide take us for a unique cozy journey. We see with our eyes; however, they see with hearts – that’s the difference!
After the lesson with this group of wonderful students, I realized they are capable of any job. Those well-educated SENs can enter office to help with administrative work, or become skilled technicians. As long as they are appreciated, encouraged, treated equally and given a friendly working environment, they can become a good friend, partner, and a role model.
We have always tried to show sympathy to SENs, which is actually not the best way because “handout” charity often adds to their psychological burden, and makes it harder for them to blend into their surroundings. On the contrary, social workers and enterprises use the term “People of difference” (POD). They try to develop empathy between people who are different to us, to encourage us to put ourselves in POD’s place. We can join hands with PODs and together will progress and create a brighter future.
Everyone admires someone for something: we admire those who are seven-feet-tall basketball masters; we admire those who are smart enough to solve all the problems; we admire those who have good eyesight and become pilots. But we rarely realize what we are also good at many things and admired by others. Overall, people are not perfect, but people are different. While we respect these differences in each other, we can certainly build more appreciation for others and ourselves.