WORK AS AN AUTONOMY TOOL
In December 2011, the United Nations General Assembly declared 21 March as World Down Syndrome Day. With this, the Assembly would like to raise public awareness of this topic, and to recall inherent dignity, the value, and the important contribution of persons with intellectual disability as promoters of welfare and diversity in their communities.
At Fundación Comparlante, we introduce you a food entrepreneurship named “Delicias para el Alma” (Goodies for the Soul) which is meant to give a job opportunity specific to persons with intellectual disability.
The cafeteria has been in Resistencia, Chaco, for 8 years, and it is the pioneer in this Argentinian province. Currently, 14 young people, 7 men and 7 women, are working and performing tasks of customer service, production, maintenance of space, among other activities.
“Delicias para el Alma” has two branches. This self-managed proposal aims at providing a work opportunity to young people with intellectual disability since they have been preparing themselves for the working world for some time.
This project is part of an NGO called Support Commission of fathers and friends to production shops “Todos Juntos” (“All together”).
In the context of the Down Syndrome Day on March 21, we discussed with Fernando Giménez, a worker in the “Delicias para el Alma” cafeteria.
What does this job mean to you?
I love having a job because I can share with my friends, because I get paid, because I save that money to go and leave on my own. I would like to become independent as my brothers.
How did you get to work in “Delicias para el alma“?
Because of a project created by the Support Commission of fathers and friends to production shops “Todos Juntos”, and also because I am one of the owners together with my workmates. A month before the opening, I was trained on learning how to make juice, coffee and to prepare chipas (a small bread prepared with cassava flour).
How is you relationship with your workmates and the clients attending the cafeteria?
Relationship is good, with respect and care, I am kind with them since I have a good friendship. Beside working together, we are friends, and we go to the movies, to eat anything, and we celebrate birthdays.
Mi relationship with clients is good, and they are very friendly with me, I prepare the order and I get paid. Moreover, we go out and sell products of the cafeteria in the street with my coworkers, people greet us and buy them. Sometimes they ask us for something special to take them.
Clients know us and they are friends of all of us. They love us, they take photos with us, and we love very much to speak with people.
Did you have another work experience?
Yes. 12 years ago, I worked at the Libertad superstore. I was the stock boy of everything such as sweets, candies, treats, I was in charge of arranging products on shelves.
Besides, I was a stock boy in the textile area, bazar, perfume shop. Before, I used to bag up goods in cash registers.
At age 34, Fernando is in the process of completing high school.
In the discussion, Fernando told us that he has not have the opportunity to participate in organizations promoting rights for persons with disabilities, yet. Nevertheless, that is something he would like to do.
At Fundación Comparlante we would like to highlight the importance of entrepreneurship as “Delicias para el Alma” to promote the development and autonomy of persons with disabilities. We believe that these opportunities to get a decent job impact on the economic and social development of people and all the community.