From IT to occupational therapy
Originally from Fez in northern Morocco, Hassan studied international business management, business administration and marketing. He started work as a project coordinator for the Moroccan branch of a Toulouse-based company specializing in digital deployment.
After working for the company for a year, he realized that he wanted to be part of something bigger, to contribute to society through his work.
"I wanted to try, through my work, to bring positive change to my immediate environment, my country and the world. How could I earn a living while doing something that would help create a better world?" explains Hassan.
Encountering HI on a street corner
Hassan decided to change jobs. He started searching the Internet where he saw several HI job offers and realized that HI worked in Morocco. Interested in the organization, he applied for a position as an inclusive education project manager. Unfortunately, as he had no experience in this field, he didn’t get the job.
As fate would have it, he was leaving work one day when he saw a car in the HI colors and decided to go and talk to the person driving it. This was when Hassan met Esther, who was to become one of his colleagues. After an initial improvised discussion, Hassan called her back and had two fruitful interviews.
Determined to join the NGO, he left his permanent contract in new technologies for a fixed-term contract with HI, simply saying during the interview:
“I need to ask you for two things: will you teach me everything you know about the profession, and will you guarantee that our relationship will be based on mutual trust and loyalty?"
Hassan has now been working for HI for 4 years. He spends his working day supporting the social and economic inclusion of people with disabilities in Morocco. His main mission is to run two projects. The first is a development project aimed at promoting the employability of women and people with disabilities. Its key components include:
- Supporting ANAPEC (national employment agency) in implementing actions to promote the inclusive transformation of its provision of services,
- Supporting civil society actors working in the field of youth employment to incorporate a disability component into all their activities,
- Helping companies to formalize their disability policy and recruit people with disabilities,
- Raising awareness and lobbying for the institutionalization of mechanisms that address the social issues restricting access to employment for people in disadvantaged situations.
The second project involves providing technical assistance to institutional employment bodies, in particular the ANAPEC, to help them achieve their ambition of delivering a universal, inclusive service to Moroccan citizens.
HI and Label’Vie
In 2018, as part of the Employment and Disability project, HI began a collaboration with the company Label'Vie. This support began with a review of the company's disability policy. HI then proposed an action plan, which led to the signing of a partnership agreement. In 2020, Label'Vie launched a recruitment campaign for three pre-employment internship positions for people with disabilities.
During this recruitment campaign, Hassan and HI's role was to find candidates through their partnerships with ANAPEC and organizations of people with disabilities. The objective? To accompany the candidates and prepare them for job interviews.
Rachid, an example of success
It was through this recruitment campaign that Rachid was taken on as an intern in the Label'Vie catering team. Rachid, 29, has Down syndrome. Dynamic, sociable and proactive, he excelled in his job interview.
"During our interview, he dazzled me with his openness, curiosity and experience. He was exceptional in every way," explains Hassan.
Hassan is very moved when he talks about Rachid.
“It has helped me to overcome some of my prejudices, especially not to see their disability first when I meet someone. A disability, whatever it may be, doesn't determine a person; we should consider them for who they are, on a case-by-case basis. Two people can have the same disability, but be very different, with their own skills and aptitudes.”
At the end of Rachid's internship, Label'Vie did not have the budget to hire him immediately. However, a few months later, the company contacted him again and offered him a new contract, this time on a permanent basis.
For a company to recruit a person with an intellectual disability is a first in Morocco. Label'Vie has set a precedent. Rachid's story demonstrates his company's commitment to greater inclusion. It proves that it is possible for organizations to do more to develop opportunities for people with disabilities, and to help change the legal and support frameworks for people with intellectual disabilities.
“Rachid is an exceptional person. He has become a real ambassador for people with disabilities in Morocco. His story inspires us to keep doing what we’re doing and has helped us professionally to improve the support we provide to companies,” concludes Hassan.