I now understand that my disability has given me many “gifts.” - Nauda's story

Monday, July 14, 2014

10 minutes with Champions candidate: Nauda L, who started with Champions in March, 2014.

Nauda, tell us your story!

Firstly, how did you hear about Champions?

I just ‘Googled’ Employment Agencies/Services for people with disabilities.

What did you like the most about Champions?
Everyone at Champions has a disability! Never in my life have I felt so comfortable and at ease meeting new people. It’s a breath of fresh air meeting people who instantly make you forget about your fears, insecurities and shame about your disability. It was a great experience to feel “normal” for once!

Tell us about your disability
I have been legally blind since I was born. I see 20/400 in my left eye and 20/200 in my right eye. I have severe optic nerve damage, coloboma and nysatagmus in both eyes.

What do you find most challenging about working with a disability?
A lot of computer programs are not compatible with a minimized screen resolution so where possible, I use a larger monitor. The font on many documents I use throughout the day is often way too small, so I use my 4x magnifier. I’m currently looking into the DRES program (Disability Related Employment Supports) to acquire a CCTV for this issue. This will help me tremendously at work with all of the small font documents that I use throughout the day. Also, public transit can be frustrating to use as the bus numbers are unclear at times. Luckily, I’ve found employment very close to my home to ease this issue.

Which workshops did you attend at Champions? And which one was most useful?
I attended all of them!
Oddly enough, even though I am comfortable with disclosing my disability I found that the Disclosure Workshop was the most useful. During this work shop I learned about my rights and responsibilities for accommodation. Also, one thing I took to heart was when we talked about finding our abilities within our disabilities. I still think about this a lot and now understand that my disability has given me many “gifts.”

Tell me about some of the people you've met while working with Champions.
I was amazed with the group of people I met at Champions. I was introduced to people with visible and non-visible disabilities of all types. I never felt awkward or insecure about myself with any of the staff or other candidates. The group really opened my eyes towards life! For once I felt it was OK to have a disability, no-one cared and no-one judged me.

The Champions team really understood my need to find the “right fit!” No agency has been as helpful or informative as they have been.

Where are you working now?
I had been job searching for 8 months after graduating my Payroll Diploma Program and had no luck obtaining my desired job before I came to Champions. They really helped to boost my confidence in job search.

I’m now employed as a Receptionist & Payroll Administrator at Verus Animal Health Alliance.

Is it the right fit for you?
It’s the right job for me because I like working with numbers, creating spreadsheets, data entry, organizing and filing and helping employees with payroll & benefit related problems. I also like working independently.

What’s your message for employers?
Employers should know that they needn’t be worried about hiring and working with someone with a disability. Those of us with disabilities are often hardworking and loyal individuals. We are all human. So rather than judging, we should gather up the courage to learn about and accept each other for who we are. We all have great strengths that we are willing and able to share with others.

I know in my heart that my disability has made me the determined, loyal, ethical, hard-working individual that I am today. I also know from living with my disability that when I am given a fair chance, I’ll commit and give my Employers my all. My family, friends, peers and references can speak to this. With or without a disability, if someone is qualified to do a job, they should be entitled to the chance of fair employment.

What’s your advice for someone considering coming to Champions?

Do it! Champions and the people utilizing their services will teach you that you’re not alone on your journey. If you’re looking for proper direction with your job search, Champions offers a judgement- free, understanding, resourceful and positive environment for those of us with disabilities. 


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