Shogun Khetrapal, 28 (left), who has delayed mental growth, works in the laundry centre of the Park Hyatt Dubai where he hangs, washes and unloads clothes. Chirag Neogi, 24, who has Down’s syndrome, also works in the laundry centre where he folds T-shirts and towels. Image Credit: Atiq-Ur-Rehman/Gulf News

Dubai: When given an opportunity to work, people with special needs have proven time after time that they are just as capable as the rest. In fact, employers believe they bring more than their services to the table. They bring life to the work place.

To learn more about the capabilities of people with special needs, Gulf News spoke to employers across Dubai who employed people with special needs as part of the Work Placement Programme by Al Noor Training Centre for Children with Special Needs.

One of the students employed as part of the programme is Shogun Khetrapal, Indian, 28, who suffers from delay in mental growth. He has been successfully working in the laundry centre of Park Hyatt Dubai where he hangs, washes and unloads clothes. Chirag Neogi, Indian, 24, who has Down’s Syndrome, also works at the laundry centre where he folds T-shirts and towels.

Teddy Mathews, Laundry Manager at Park Hyatt Dubai, who trained the two, said training them was difficult but worth it.

“They now do their jobs well; we give them easy jobs and make sure that they do not deal with heavy machinery. It is very ‘interesting to have them around. They bring life to the place with their child-like personalities.”

Mathews said Khetrapal loves to tell stories about cricket while Neogi has a nice singing voice, which is why the work team have become fond of them.

Saurav Sarkar, Indian, 22, has Down’s syndrome and works at VOX cinema in Deira City Centre where he refills popcorn, stacks water bottles, arranges the display, and cleans tables.

Rami Alloush, Programming Manager and CSR Ambassador at VOX cinemas, said having Sarkar is great because he brings a nice atmosphere to the work place.

“He is very active, he does the job well. I recommend other companies and organisations to hire and give them a chance because they are good for the company and team. They add life.”

Since Vighnesh Viswanathan, Indian, 20, has high-functioning Down’s syndrome he is capable of using computers well and so has an office job at DHL where he fills in data for web shipping.

Ashraf Aboobacker Kunju, Mailroom Administrator at DHL, who works with Viswanathan, said Vishwanathan has become popular among staff who all greet him and know his name.

“He is good at his job and very intelligent. He is trying the best he can at his level. We have no problems with him but he does need some kind of support. I am sure as time progress he will be able to handle more challenges and continue to work with the passion he displays.”