Like the grit that shapes a pearl, people who live with disability will often work harder to prove themselves, honing in and finessing their abilities to become something quite exceptional. This is certainly the case when it comes to Chanda Suon, an Employment Consultant employed by BUSY Ability.
From Cambodia, Chanda’s family were greatly affected by the Pol Pot regime in the 1970s. The regime separated families and sent children to work in the rice fields where they were given limited food to eat, many suffering malnutrition. When the war finally ended in 1979, life never returned to normal, many civilians suffering post-traumatic stress disorder.
Chanda’s family decided to immigrate and they were eventually settled in Australia in the 1980s where they finally found some peace to get on with their lives. Like her other siblings Chanda soon started her own family, meeting her husband and having four children. Sadly, her first daughter passed away in 2010 from lung cancer.
While raising their children, Chanda worked hard in factory work, while also educating herself. She completed a Diploma of Community and Human Services, a Social Work Degree and a Master of International Relations. She then worked as a refugee caseworker for some time, helping others who had gone through similar traumatic experiences before immigrating.
Chanda is now employed by BUSY Ability as an Employment Consultant, assisting people living with disability into work.
“Working at BUSY Ability has given me new hope and a new meaning to life. I know exactly how people living with disability feel like. I have had my disability since my early childhood infancy, after my nanny had placed me onto the counter and did not supervise me. I crawled off the counter, smashing myself into the ground and dislocated my left shoulder. She was then too afraid to confess the incident to my parents at an appropriate time so, by the time they found out, it was already too late. The doctor told them that the socket had already been sealed off and that there was nothing they could do about it. Since then, I have not been able to move my left arm freely, but rather with limited movement, only from the below elbow down to the tip of my fingers.
Living with this disability is like carrying an object between 2-3 kg, dragging the left side of my body down. Yes, I am in pain and exhausted every day but by keeping myself busy doing something all the time, this allows me to forget about it. Growing up as a ‘partially disabled person’ has never been easy. Discrimination was high. However, I refused to give up. I refused to be classified as a ‘Disabled Person’. I have used all negative occurrences and turned these into a positive outcome, I understand that life is full of obstacles and hardships for everyone, regardless”, Chanda stated.
CEO for BUSY Ability, Jason Shield stated “Chanda is an exceptional person with an incredible life story and we are very lucky to have her working for BUSY Ability! Along with her professionalism and insight, Chanda brings a level of empathy that is greatly needed in our line of work.
BUSY Ability ‘walk our talk’ when it comes to advocating for people with disability. We focus on ability first and encourage other businesses to do the same – you may also find an exceptional employee like Chanda”.
BUSY Ability is encouraging businesses to focus on ability through their recent Employ-Ability 100 campaign. If your business would like to pledge to be an inclusive employer, add your name beside the many other businesses in our region who are doing the same. The campaign aims to change perceptions and create opportunities and financial independence for people living with disability.
Chanda Suon is supporting others who live with disability to find meaningful employment.
For more information or to Pledge Today visit https://busyability.org.au/employ-ability-100/
MEDIA CONTACT: Michelle Ryan
Ph: 0407 169 029