“I don’t like to use the term ‘disabled’ says Faride Shroff. “Disabled people also have abilities to offer and therefore I prefer to say, ‘differently abled’.”
Faride is the founder and head of SENsational Foundation, a charity dedicated to improving the status of the more than 500,000 differently-abled in Hong Kong. She spent 30 years as a special needs educator and during this time became acutely aware of the lack of opportunities for the differently-abled in the workforce.
So, the SENsational Foundation was set up in 2013, the object being to create equal opportunities once the differently-abled were able to take up employment. To this end, SENsational ran training workshops, panel discussions and fundraisers.
“From educating the children,” says Faride, “I am now trying to educate the adults.”
In August of last year, SENsational achieved Section 88 charitable status and is now a registered NGO. They have also received a recruitment licence which will enable them to actively seek to place their members in employment.
Now, in order to raise funds SENsation has organized a walkathon.
Because of Covid restrictions on group gatherings, this will be a Virtual Walkathon and will be very different from the norm. Participants will be free to choose the length of their walk, the route, the time, what they wear and the number of participants. They can walk alone, with a friend, or in groups of up to six. (Those Covid restrictions again) at any time between 8 April and 31 May. There will be modest minimum targets set for participants and corporate sponsors; Holiday Inn Golden Mile, Salvatore Ferragamo, J.W. Marriott and the MTR Corporation are already on board.
Proceeds from Walk For Equality will enable SENsational to:
- Implement a community outreach programme to focus on the mental health and wellbeing of people with disabilities (dance classes, art workshops and more)
- Run a vocational training for graduate and non-graduate youths (aged 15- 25 years) with disabilities and special needs in Hong Kong
- Launch a disability network (initiated on 4 December 2019), dedicated to promoting the equality and inclusion of people with disabilities and special needs in Hong Kong
- Increase SENsational Foundation’s impact in a sustainable and scalable way.
For more information access the company’s website.
To register for the Walk For Equality virtual walkathon click on this link.
So how do SENsational view their efforts to date?
Faride says, “Many more companies are becoming increasingly aware of the need for this change, and the benefits that it brings to their business. It is not viewed just as a charity but as an opportunity of providing mutual respect and equality for every individual; a basic human right.”