‘Autism Works Wonders’ is an awareness campaign that encourages businesses to be more inclusive when hiring.
Last month, customers at Dubai restaurant ‘Shabab Shawarma’ were pleasantly surprised to be greeted by a workforce with a difference.
The restaurant took part in Autism Works Wonders, a campaign which aims to encourage businesses to be more inclusive in their hiring policies.
‘As a hidden gem ourselves, we understand perfecting the potential of hidden talent, which is exactly why we opened our doors to these exceptional young individuals’ explains Motaz Albatta, Shabab Shawarma’s Managing Partner.
Laurence Anthony De Guzman, a 15 year old pianist, along with his sister Charlene Joie serenaded customers in the restaurant, along with a special rendition of Happy Birthday to a lucky diner celebrating their 18th birthday.
Customers were also welcomed with amazing balloon decorations, designed and made by UAE based Dhiren Bhatia, a young designer who developed his skills as a way to help his single mother pay for his medical bills.
In the kitchen, Tanay Shah a skilled amateur chef and cupcake enthusiast helped the restaurant up their dessert game, including baking a birthday cake for a lucky customer.
Finally, on the design front, the restaurant welcomed Mohamed Dawood, a talented calligrapher who in his own words was there to ‘give the place a visual facelift’. His efforts included revamping the signage and menus alongside personalizing peoples drink cups.
Each of these four inspiring youngsters brought their own unique talents and combined they transformed the restaurant into buzzing place to meet friends and family. Diners were blown away by the creativity and passion on display.
Gifted with Perfect Pitch 15-year-old pianist and Autism Awareness Ambassador & Grassroots Ambassador to MEYE 2020 on Tolerance, Resilience and Happiness, Laurence Anthony De Guzman performed at the restaurant, ‘Shabab Shawarma’ alongside other skilled youngsters.
“At Senses, we witness every single day the amazing things individuals on the spectrum can do, we hope this initiative will highlight and encourage business owners to hire individuals on the spectrum and broaden their workforce in a positive and unique way” said Khawla Al Sayegh, Vice Executive Manager of Senses Residential and Day Care For Special Needs (SENSES).
Raising awareness of this amazing pool of talent available to businesses remains a priority for SENSES, businesses can apply for help with setting up internship programs which aim to introduce differently abled workers into the corporate world and allows businesses to harness the talents of individuals on the spectrum.
Forward-thinking companies are making an effort to include those with Autism in their organizations. Many companies are partnering with organizations that help businesses hire neurodiverse individuals by placing them in positions that suits their strengths.
Dr. Nadia Khalil Al Sayegh, Director General of Senses Residential and Day Care for Special Needs (SENSES) said “Although there is a general awareness of autism, we need to increase the understanding and acceptance of people with autism, and provide additional solutions that enable children and adults on the spectrum to live their best lives possible. The Autism Works Wonders campaign urges organizations to consider the inclusion of individuals when hiring, to give them a sense of belonging and familiarity.”
“We need to bridge the gap between resources and opportunities and make it more conducive to these individuals, who if given a chance, can excel in society proving to be an asset,” she concluded.
The campaign is led by Senses Residential and Day Care for Special Needs in celebration of April being Autism Awareness Month