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Fair chance at work for all

07 March 2022

A few days ago, an email arrived with the subject line: ‘Moishe asked to have this in the Kisharon newsletter.’ Reading down, it said that Moishe, one of Kisharon’s supported living tenants, had started a new job that day at Eli’s Pizza in Edgware.

Jobs are big news at Kisharon and Moishe’s story would have made the newsletter even without his personal request.

Moishe isn’t the new manager, chef, waiter or even a kitchen assistant at Eli’s. He’s working for one hour, one morning a week, readying the restaurant for lunchtime customers.

As is evident, jobs bring self-esteem, confidence, the chance to mix more widely and even pocket money, although some posts are unpaid.

Those Kisharon supports are grateful for any job, at whatever level, paid or not, and the benefits to mental and physical health are huge. This is why Kisharon has become one of more than 80 signatories to the Disability Employment Charter, which is lobbying the government to correct the employment disadvantage experienced by people with disabilities.

Set up in October last year with only 37 organisations on board, Kisharon now stands alongside the UK’s biggest charities and employers calling for the government to improve the working lives of all disabled people, regardless of their particular needs.

Kisharon’s Employment and Opportunities Manager, Shlomo Weltman, above, said: “Everyone should be treated as an equal. Employers should look at what people can do, not at what they can’t. Everyone is unique in their own way.

“People at Kisharon are highly motivated, and don’t work because bills need to be paid. Many are happy with the entry-level jobs that no-one else wants to do.

“We need a shift in mindset so adjustments are made for employees with learning disabilities in the same way as the right equipment, or different office facilities are brought in when other new staff arrive.

“There is a huge inequality gap in employment made worse by Covid which hit people with disabilities more than the general population. The government has not done enough to make employment easier.”

The significance of organisations like Kisharon signing up to the charter was stressed by its founder, Professor Kim Hoque, who said:

“The sign up from wide-ranging stakeholders expresses to the government the substantive appetite for change. This sends a message that is very difficult to ignore.”

Finally, this is for you, Moishe.

Moishe started a new job at Eli’s Pizza in Edgware, helping to get ready for the lunchtime rush. Busy Moishe now has four jobs, at Hadar kosher supermarket, the UJIA and at Ashley Page insurance in Finchley.

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Pirkei Avos
“The world stands on three things: Torah, the service of G-d, and deeds of kindness.” Kisharon looks at the person not the disability, teaching Torah, Middos and Mitzvot embracing and cherishing everybody’s special talent and bringing out the best in them.