Faiva Ora Innovation Fund project: As i am
A nurturing approach was the best way moving forward, it created a great atmosphere for learning and development.
Malo e lelei, my name is Natasha Barber, Director of As i am.
As i am is a community foundation that raises disability awareness and supports disadvantaged people through education, employment, and a sense of belonging as they aspire to achieve happiness and purpose in their everyday lives.
As i am identified a gap in the disability sector low employment skills training or opportunities for people with disabilities and therefore aim to connect people with life skills to career opportunities that are meaningful. As i am has developed modules enabling participants to gauge their areas of strength, which then transferred into basic work skills in areas such as landscaping, painting and building. Skills such as punctuality, a positive attitude, appropriate attire were also key elements in strengthening opportunities into sustainable employment.
The Faiva Ora project involved the provision of intense wrap around employment support for 2 people with disabilities and 2 employers. A Tongan church in Otahuhu requiring extensive renovation soon became the community project which ran over an 8-week period with the support of three qualified tradesmen.
Proving that encouragement and persistence go a long way when applied at the right time and with the right approach, the 2 project participants are now currently studying fulltime and employed part time with a local road company. Future plans for both participants are to create a short documentary on disability awareness with an evening premiere near the end of the year. All proceeds will go toward funding more community projects, supporting young people with disabilities into meaningful employment and creating a sense of belonging in their lives.