An Abu Dhabi-based startup is working to place more than 100 People of Determination this year across the region in equal-paying and progressive jobs.
The startup, ImInclusive, connects People of Determination with inclusive employers and also provides free upskilling, interview preparations and learning pathways for candidates. Started by a 27-year-old Pakistani expatriate, Hafsa Qadeer, the startup has gained industry recognition and is looking to further its reach in the coming time.
She had been deeply impacted by the journey of her brother Ahmed, 18, who lives with spina bifida, a birth defect that leads to varying degrees of disability. Through her initiative, the social entrepreneur has also noted a positive shift among employers.
“Executives at several top companies know workplaces of the future will be inclusive in line with the vision of the UAE government. It had placed a person with visual impairment in the hospitality industry. Additionally, the mentorship and upskilling help People of Determination settle well into their roles. The startup also offers training for employers that accommodate People of Determination, including language classes. ImInclusive has received several grants, including from the Companies Creating Change Accelerator.
She hoped, over the next couple of years, more and more people would see the leadership potential of People with Determination and support it. “By working with employers, we are looking at creating a chain of social support across the region. If we help change a hundred lives today, it will grow into a million lives tomorrow.”
Her brother Ahmed is one of the trainees at ImInclusive, and is ready to chart his path. Price McCarthy, a 22-year-old Ghanaian-Nigerian with vision impairment, is one of the People of Determination placed by ImInclusive as a research intern at Companies Creating Change. She has been working for more than a year and says the job gives her a sense of independence and a workplace that is accessible.