Not Disable, Just Differently-able

Taufeeq Ahmed, a 42-year-old man, who cannot speak or hear works as a ‘cleaning boy’ in an Institute of Business Management (IoBM) and he has been working there since past four years, before that he used to re-fill the water bottles and used to sell them by going to different homes. Taufeeq, never really had a real job before he was assigned to IoBM and he has been working since the age of 25.

Before I came to IoBM, all my life I have been doing jobs, which were not considered as respectful jobs, said Taufeeq, in his sign language.

Taufeeq is the breadwinner of the family and his family includes of 6 people; his father, his sister-in-law and his four nieces and nephews. He started working after the death of his brother and he died when Taufeeq was 25, before that he did not used to work as he felt that he could not work due to his disability and another main reason was that he was scared that how people will react.

He lives in Korangi, so it makes it easier for him to come daily for the job, his shift starts from 7 in the morning and it ends around 6 in the evening and during all those hours he is assigned a place, which he has to make sure that it stays clean. Taufeeq told me that he enjoys working in IoBM and that this place has given him respect and self-confidence as well, as before that he was scared to even go in public.

First few weeks with him were hard, none of us could understand him, but now we are so used to each other’s company that if he takes on off for a day, it feels weird, says Shah Sahab (a good friend of Taufeeq).

During these four years in IoBM, Taufeeq has made many friends but best of them all is Shah Sahab, who has been working in the same place since 7 years and he completely understands Taufeeq and he also helps him to communicate with others, by translating things in to sign language. He also said that Taufeeq loves working here, that even after four years, he never gets late for work and he does his work with full dedication.

Now, after talking to Taufeeq Ahmed, I went to the Administration Department of IoBM to ask them a few questions about him and about their hiring policies, as I had to know their thinking behind this great initiative.

In the Administration Department, I talked to Syed Muhammad Ayaz, who works as an Administrative Officer and looks at the hiring of the labor. He told us about the hiring policy of the Institute; for the cleaning department, all they want is a person who is physically well and has the strength to work around 10 hours a day.

Taufeeq is the only man in the whole department who has a disability and before hiring a person like that, the administration had a proper meeting, where they discussed that they should do something for the employment of disabled people, it is their duty to do so, as the Government has launched a bill; where the Institutions has to give the employment quota of 2% to disabled person and if they do not do that, serious action will be taken towards them and that is when they come up with the idea of hiring people like Taufeeq and they do not regret their decision at all, in fact they plan on hiring more people like him in the future.

Author: Mariam Azam


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