In 1992, the Italian Association of people with Down Syndrome (AIPD) placed the first person with Down syndrome in a workplace.
Today there are 175 employees with a permanent contract in the AIPD network.
Rome, 29 April 2021 – “I’ve got it, I’ve got it, I miss it”. Many workers with Down syndrome have a job thanks to AIPD. However, many of them still lack one: the Album of Workers 1992-2020, which AIPD is launching on the occasion of May Day, is dedicated especially to them. It was 1992, in fact, when the association placed the first person with Down syndrome in a workplace. Today there are 175 workers with permanent contracts in the AIPD network (many others have fixed-term contracts or are having apprenticeships): nine of these “champions” are portrayed in the album’s figurines, but many spaces are still empty. This is why AIPD is calling on individuals and companies: “Would you like to help us to fill them in?”.
The game is simple, just like an exchange of stickers between children: by clicking on the empty space, you can select “company” or “private person”: in the first case, “fill in the form and we will help you to find the right person, train them and place them in their future workplace”. Anyone, on the other hand, can support AIPD’s work inclusion projects by making a donation online through the dedicated page.
Who are the nine ‘champions’… The cards already included in the album are the proof that working is beautiful and possible for people with Down syndrome: on the back of each picture is not only the name, AIPD’s branch and the company of reference, but also a brief testimony of the worker portrayed. “I get on very well with all my colleagues, the director and the managers. I do my job well, it’s very important for me. I like going there a lot,” says Italo Maddalena, a dining room attendant at Mc Donald’s in Rome. Andrea Oggiano, canteen attendant at DSU University of Pisa, rejoices: “I have realised my dream: I’m working!”. “I really like working in a parapharmacy because it allows me to see many people and make myself known. I say this is my kingdom!”, assures Alessandra Cappello, shop assistant at Parafarmacia Partigiani in Puglia.
… and 175 permanent AIPD workers. One year after its thirtieth anniversary, AIPD has set itself the objective of “completing” the album, enriching on the one hand the team of workers with Down syndrome, and on the other hand the companies that would like to benefit from their contribution. And to prove that the enterprise is beautiful and possible, it publishes the list of permanent employees in the AIPD network, together with an indication of the main companies with which AIPD has collaborated.
IwantWork: the appeal of the Valueable European network. Not only Italy: for the 1st of May, also the European network for the labour inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities in the hospitality sector, Valueable, of which AIPD is the leader, launches the slogan, the hashtag and the appeal “I want to work”: an appeal that sounds particularly strong, when the whole world has stopped for more than a year and many workers are in trouble. It is precisely for this reason that the campaign launched by the network, which includes six European countries, takes on a special meaning and value today: it has the task of making the voices of these people heard, for whom work also means social inclusion and autonomy. All people with Down Syndrome or intellectual disabilities who are working and/or looking for work can participate. The request was to publish a post on social media, between 30 April and 3 May 2021, with the message “I want to work”, accompanied by the hashtag #InternationalWorkersDay #ValueableNetwork #IwantWork and with the tag of the association of reference, the employing company and @ValueableNetwork.