This is a story about empowerment, that is being empowered and going on to empower others. It was over two years ago I sat in a small office at a Western Sydney disability service provider with Franca and her partner. I was asked if there be any way we could coach Franca to complete a Technical and Further Education Course she had chosen to do so as to maximize her chances of gaining employment. The Course was Certificate II in Retail Services. Franca is challenged with cerebral palsy and typing on a keyboard was going to be a real obstacle. Cerebral Palsy affects muscle tone and movement and with Franca it also affected her speech. In addition, her self-esteem, confidence and motivation were extremely low. She had also been told by another employment services provider that it was unlikely she would be able to complete the vocational course. I remember thinking to myself that this was going to be no small venture. As a Mindset Coach I could not allow her to fail, yet the journey seemed daunting.
I soon discovered that one of Franca’s key strengths was her tenacity. I had to help her build upon that. Soon we begun the online course. However, some months into her course Franca fell very ill which placed her in hospital for a lengthy time. She had fallen behind in submitting assignments. On top of that she had become de-registered from her course. Then along came COVID and extensive lockdowns. A circle of support gathered around Franca to advocate on her behalf to be re-instated into the course. At Shikodo we believe that Circles of Support around a person can be powerful over bureaucracies that often only see systems rather than human beings. Our Circle of Support involved a range of key people within our community.
Shikodo believes that a growth and resilience mindset is the cornerstone to overcoming often seemingly insurmountable challenges along with the support of a close connection for the journey. You alone can do it, but you can’t do it alone. Two such invaluable connections have been Vandana Mohture and Janet Liki, Franca’s awesome and professional Mindset Coaches with Shikodo.
week Franca told us that she has since changed her career direction. At first, we were a bit nonplussed. “I want to work to help others like me, to help them”, said Franca. “I want to explore a course as a Social Worker.” With only two assignments short of completing her Certificate II in Retail Services, Franca moves her sight
s to empowering others. It was an emotional moment. To witness Franca express her dream in clear and precise language with no speech impediment was awesome. When we are empowered, when we have agency, there is so often a desire to make a difference in the lives of others. It is a discovery moment that one’s mindset has changed. The story is re-written. Shikodo will stay the journey with her.
I would also like to thank Naked Klay for their wonderful sponsorship for this project. Without such corporate sponsorship Franca would not have been able to be resourced with wonderful coaches. Naked Klay believes that each person has an ‘inner beauty’ that just needs that opportunity to shine.
If you have been moved or inspired by Franca’s story you may even want to consider sponsoring our precious work. We would love to hear from you. You can be part of the story of growth and empowerment and changing the world of one person.