New Dignity on Wheels initiative keeps workers with disabilities busy
New Dignity on Wheels initiative provides people on motorised wheelchairs a chance to work in the food delivery business
Mr Jalil Salleh had been unemployed for more than a year since an accident in 2019 led to the amputation of his right leg.
The 53-year-old had to quit his previous job as a technician due to his injury.
Two months ago, he finally found a job as a cashier at Dignity Kitchen, a foodcourt located in Boon Keng and managed by both able-bodied staff and people with disabilities.
Dignity Kitchen is a venture by social enterprise Project Dignity. More than 60 per cent of its employees are differently abled or disadvantaged.
"I am happy and thankful for the job as I have been struggling to support my wife and mother, and also to put my two daughters through school," said Mr Salleh.
Recently, he took on the additional responsibility of a food delivery rider under Dignity Kitchen's latest initiative, Dignity on Wheels.
Announced on May 18, the initiative offers food delivery by motorised wheelchair to locations within 1km of the foodcourt.
Mr Salleh's motorised wheelchair was purchased using the government-funded Open Door Programme (ODP) Job Redesign Grant administered by SG Enable.
Mr Tan Ko We, assistant chief executive of SG Enable, said it has been working closely with Project Dignity since 2015 to provide the ODP Training Grant for food and beverage and food preparation training.
Despite having a dual role as both a cashier and delivery rider, Mr Salleh said the workload has not been too taxing, and he is motivated to do well.
Giving employees such as Mr Salleh a sense of purpose and pride is "the whole reason why we do what we do", said Project Dignity's assistant general manager Cindy Berlandier.
"We teach our workers the standards that they have to meet, and they are able to do it afterwards. We give them these responsibilities because this is what it means to give them dignity," she added.
Mr Lam Shao Wei, who has mild intellectual and learning disabilities, has been with Project Dignity since 2014.
The 24-year-old underwent Dignity Kitchen's in-house training programme and now helps out at the chicken rice and Malay stalls at the foodcourt by preparing ingredients and packing orders.
He said: "Sometimes I get confused and nervous when there are too many orders, but the staff take care of me and they praise me when I do well too."
Mr Lam used to struggle with anger management and low self-esteem, but with his supervisors' guidance, he now gets along well with his co-workers.
There has been an outpouring of support for the Dignity on Wheels initiative.
Ms Berlandier said: "Sometimes we get bulk orders from people living in the same block of flats, and it has been so heartwarming to see the community supporting our social mission of providing our workers with gainful employment. We are truly very blessed."