While listening to Eric Brandt’s Look Into My Eyes, some of the lyrics struck me.
What do you see?
If all that you see is the outside of me,
Then I think you might be surprised
That inside of me lives a spirit that’s free
A spirit that soars through the skies
It’s right there before you, it’s easy to see,
When you look into my eyes.
This song aims to tell everyone to treat people with special needs with their hearts. It immediately reminds me of Faridé Shroff, who has devoted more than 30 years to special needs education. After teaching as a Special Educational Needs (SEN) teacher for over two decades in Hong Kong, she decided to leave her comfort zone in order to pursue the goal of changing community attitudes to people with disabilities.
Faridé believes it is crucial to raise public awareness about the value of a diverse and inclusive workplace so as to provide equitable opportunities for people with disabilities. Apart from empowering candidates to find suitable jobs, SENsational Foundation, which Faridé founded in 2103 to address these issues, also works to dispel misconceptions about disabilities that companies may hold in order to improve their workplace inclusivity.
Recently, SENsational Foundation joined the ACS’s Jockey Club (JC) Engage Digital Exploration and won the Championship. Our Team has interviewed Faridé to understand more about her reasons for joining the programme and the work of SENsational.
Why did you take part in the Engage journey?
First of all, ACS’s mission, ‘to serve people who serve others’, has indeed inspired my colleagues and me. Additionally, the active participation and warm support of our volunteers – Kathy, Nicole and Sou – enabled us to learn about the missions and work of other NGOs. The experience was motivational and encouraging because we were surrounded by like-minded individuals who shared with us the vision for a kinder and more inclusive Hong Kong.
What inspired you to participate in the digital campaign workshop?
Today, digital marketing is an essential tool for promoting the mission, vision and work of a company. With proper strategies and suitable content, digital marketing is one of the most efficient ways to reach the public. It can engage existing audiences about important projects and upcoming events as well as attract new supporters.
We were very excited when we first learned about the digital campaign workshop since we wanted to learn various technical skills from industry professionals to help us more effectively recruit, train and find employment for those living with disabilities.
How did the workshop help sharpen your organisation’s professional skills?
The workshop has definitely enhanced our technical skills. Many of the concepts and good practices, like setting SMART objectives, or understanding the digital marketing funnel and psychographics of our audience, helped us to identify our target audience and choose the ideal platforms we should use to ensure maximum reach.
We have already changed our digital marketing strategies according to certain key concepts as well as engaged in serious discussions on objective-setting practices. The workshop was thought-provoking in that way.
After winning the service award, what are the messages that you want to convey to the public?
We want to reach out and convey the message to people living with disabilities that we are there to help them find suitable employment – whether they are at the early or mid-stage of their careers – and that we are always there for them during their professional journey.
We hope the public will recognise the ‘ability’ of each person instead of focusing on their ‘disability’. Our approach is to build life-long relationships with every client and understand their holistic needs as a human being. We don’t aim at short-term job placements, nor do we ever charge our candidates for our services.
Does SENsational have any new ideas / new initiatives in the near future?
We’re thrilled to have launched Hong Kong’s first disability employment network, the Professional Disability Network Hong Kong (PDNHK), last August and are currently broadening our membership across key local industry segments, especially in recruitment, real estate, education, banking, insurance, hospitality and a lot more.
Additionally, in response to last year’s positive feedback and engagement, I am very happy to announce that our global walkathon, the Walk for Inclusion 2022, will be held in October and November, and that we are actively seeking sponsors and partners for the event.
We look forward to attending more ACS workshops in the future. Thank you again to the ACS team for all their support and good work.