Page 24

Able Painters

Focasing on Abilities not Disabilities One of the things I love about people in the South Pacific is that in the face of adversity they always have a positive attitude, a gentle South Pacific smile, and a confidence that quietly says “I can do this!” Take for example Joy, a Fijian student of APTC who has just started a company called “Able Painters” with two other students Alex and Volavola who happen to be deaf. Joy does not see any disabilities,only the abilities that her two friends have. As she said “Both men are good painters and will be a great asset to her new company.” So joy is not employing people with a disability. She is focused on their abilities as painters. Hence the name “Able Painters.” So what does the future hold for Joy and her two brave friends? One of the large chain of department stores in Fiji has agreed to take Joy and her team under their wing and train them in business management and book keeping. Able painters will be doing work on a number of their properties including one of the largest department stores in Suva. The company that has agreed to sponsor Able Painters can’t be named at this stage but the general manager said he can provide one of his accounts people to work with Joy for about an hour a week training Joy to manage her accounts and bookkeeping. The Fiji Deaf Association is supporting too by providing interpreters when needed. It is anticipated that customers will see this as an opportunity to support the community while receiving a professional standard of finish on their investments. Over the years I have personally trained five different painters who are deaf, one who had autism and another that had mental illness, while one of my students continued in the trade despite the fact he had to have his foot removed during his apprenticeship. What they all had in common was not their disability but their extraordinary ability to meet the challenges that life throws at them and continue to move forward. Another thing they have in common is good employers who could look past any perceived disability and see the benefit of employing these extraordinary people. By Michael Farrugia

Joy in the middle pictured with Alex on the left and Volavola on the right

Aussie Painting Contractor July  

The Aussie Painting Contractor Magazine is here to assist Painters and Decorators, Small Business as well as consumers.