“Blind people can’t work!” This incredibly incorrect, ignorant and limiting – but, unfortunately, pervasive belief means that that only 20% of blind people in the UK are employed.
We spoke to four extraordinary individuals who decided to tell their stories, challenge perceptions, and encourage everyone to take steps that will make a huge impact and transform lives.
Ricky, Michael, Kevin and Stephen each have their own personal stories. They were not all born blind, but are now all either visually impaired or blind.
Although they each have very different life journeys, what all of their stories have in common is this: they have come across too many hurdles. From looking for employment but having countless doors closed on them, to facing an overwhelming lack of patience and understanding from the general public that they cross paths with on a daily basis. At some point on their individual journeys things hit rock bottom for each of them.
But each of these four men refused to let these hurdles stop them from creating the best life for themselves. They all agree that it’s too easy to give up, admit defeat and find yourself almost hiding behind blindness an ‘excuse’. Instead they knew it was crucial to find focus, as well as surround yourself with people who will make this path easier. After speaking to and spending time with these incredible individuals our own perceptions changed and we knew we wanted to find a way to open people’s minds and encourage everyone to focus on people’s abilities – rather than any form of disability.
In Michael’s words, “When it comes to blindness, people always think the worst. But the reality is, we can be trained. It may just take a little longer at times, but that’s it”.
This is where Soap Co, an ethical luxury brand, comes in. They provide a lifeline for people with a whole variety of disabilities. Soap Co. recognise the unique traits of employing people like these four individuals: they are committed, incredibly loyal, they respect hard work and they pay great attention to detail, because they know how valuable the job is.
In addition to being given a working place in society and living financially independently, Soap Co. has created a belonging for these people. They see their individuality and their value-add, as the warm, funny, friendly, kind-spirited human being that they are looking past their disability. They have truly set an example and a path for other employers to follow.
Through the power of video, VIVIDA were able to weave the four stories into a single, strong message conveying a sense of unity and highlighting the importance of challenging and changing the community’s perception of disability. This could be your moment to provide a life-changing opportunity for some of the 80% unemployed blind or visually impaired people out there. It’s time to rethink.