Many are the poor souls this old Psycho either pulled from the pit or bandaged up, fixed broken pasts, altered defective presents and constructed better futures. I had to uproot some and replant them in better soil.
It was a task that needed Help and allowed me to occasionally catch sight of my future 'Business Partner'. During that phase in my life I was learning the ins and outs of the First Fundemental Question and starting to grasp the meaning of the Second Fundemental Question.
The difference between sad, mad and bad may be difficult to discern for the ordinary man in the street, let alone differentiating between those who arrive in the world with a serious mental disability and those who
choose their ownfrom a smorgasboard on offer in our modern world.
It is not long ago that every village had its idiot. Now the Hilary Village elevates them to political power.
Years from now, historians may regard the 2008 election of Barack Obama as an inscrutable and disturbing phenomenon, the result of a baffling breed of mass hysteria akin perhaps to the witch craze of the Middle Ages. How, they will wonder, did a man so devoid of professional accomplishment beguile so many into thinking he could manage the world's largest economy, direct the world's most powerful military, execute the world's most consequential job?This was a hoax 'Newsweek-attributed' article opener doing the rounds last week that actually made a lot of sense despite not being as purported. It does however show up the propensity of even the sane and ordinary to become quite mentally disturbed. Obama was voted into the job.
But closer to home, the Tavern hosted a bus-load of visitors the other day from a Battalion that the Old Psych used to lead. But first some 'topical affirs' scenic introduction. Few people, you see, care little enough until money comes into view. This was in the Australian:
INTELLECTUALLY disabled workers paid an average of $4.48 an hour in the nation’s “sheltered workshops’’ are at risk of losing their jobs, the industry claims.Official data from the Department of Social Services reveals that only one in every 200 workers in the nation’s 193 Australian Disability Enterprises go on to find a mainstream job. The 20,000 workers, many with profound intellectual or physical disabilities, earn barely a third of the minimum wage, the data shows.
But the enterprises warn they will have to shut the workshops if they are forced to pay the workers fairer wages, as a result of a Federal Court ruling that they paid “discriminatory wages’’ to intellectually disabled workers for the past decade. The ruling could result in wages doubling to $9 or $10 an hour — still well below the $16 an hour minimum wage.National Disability Services chief executive Ken Baker yesterday said the enterprises had high overheads, and often employed three or four disabled people to do a job that would be carried out by one mainstream worker.Endeavour Foundation executive general manager Andrew Donne said the new wage system could cost $13 million more each year, potentially forcing the closure of workshops. “Last year we barely broke even, so we’d have to close most of the workshops,’’ he said. “The workers really don’t have anywhere else to go, so if we are forced to shut, the guys would be sitting at home playing Xbox.’’Cathy de Vos is paid $2.50 an hour to label packages, fill food packets and shrink-wrap bottles at the Endeavour Foundation’s Wacol workshop in Brisbane. She also receives the Disability Support Pension.Ms de Vos likes her job because she has many friends at work, and finds it “more interesting’’ than sitting at home.Her colleague Kirk Steenbok, 21, works at the Wacol centre five days a week, and enjoys going to work to meet his “beautiful friends’’.Michael MacKenzie, 51, earns $10.67 an hour as a line assistant, supervising colleagues with more severe intellectual disabilities. “My team is absolutely brilliant,’’ he said. “They’re lovely people.“They all like working here because they have somewhere to go instead of sitting at home watching television, or being on the streets.’’
Social Services Assistant Minister Mitch Fifield yesterday called on more companies to give “poverty busting’’ jobs to disabled Australians, who made “incredibly committed, hardworking employees’’. “They take fewer sick days and have lower rates of ¬absenteeism,’’ he said. “And they really value the dignity of work.’’Senator Fifield said the federal government would spend $3.85 billion over the next four years to help disabled Australians find work in the open jobs market.More than 10,000 disabled people found jobs as a result of the government’s $15.5m wage subsidy scheme last financial year.Disability Discrimination Commissioner Susan Ryan said the public service should hire more Australians with disabilities, to provide full-wage alternatives to the low-wage employers.She said 13 per cent of workers at Westpac bank had a disability, yet only 5 per cent of public servants were disabled. “If a big commercial, profit-driven bank can employ so many people with a disability, the public service should be able to do that too,’’ she said. “It’s a signal the public service should be doing more.’’Ms Ryan said one in 10 workers in the federal Department of Health and Ageing had a disability, so other government agencies should set higher targets. She said Australia ranked 21st out of 29 developed countries in an OECD survey of employment participation rates for disabled people.Australian Bureau of Statistics data shows that 15 per cent of working-age Australians have a disability, and more than a million of them are working.
The State sees itself as the driver of all things and all too often so do the 'do-good' industries. It was not the view my Colleagues, Officers and Troops took, even though we had to 'work within' the system. Nevertheless we did manage to achieve some things.
Most of those 'do-good' industries were started by parents. Men and women with a family that included a sad soul, misformed in some way from birth. It was they who banded together to share knowledge and give comfort. It was they who established a 'self-help' system that the State later took over.
Knoxbrooke was one such.
I have many happy memories of Knoxbrooke. It had a school and a farm and many, many warm, hard-working 'carers', whose self-chosen task in life was to be of service to others. Every one was a Lancer that I was pleased to salute and lead into battle.
They were paid: I was not. My leadership was pro-bono.
We - the parents and staff, and me - had a 'self-help' mentality that brought a 'business' atmosphere to bear in order to financially support others who were largely quite incapable of living in the demanding world that you, my customers - manage with difficulty yourselves.
Our main 'business' was a horticultural enterprise in the hills outside Melbourne where mentally disabled people could work growing plants for wide sale. Camelias were a main product. We sold interstate and developed a first class reputation for quality and service. Just as any business has to do.
Our disabled clients - our friends - were able to learn, share, strive and succeed.
One chap we had in our care was catatonic. He never spoke. He never moved. He would be 'delivered' daily in a wheelchair and would resist any attempt at interaction, simply staring into the distance or looking at his knees.
We decided to take him up to the farm in the summer months where he could sit in the shade and watch the rest of the crew - who were only marginally better 'in the world' than he. We put a table next to his wheelchair and from time to time some poor soul would move from their own spot to escape the mumblings and often noisy groups and sit next to him potting seedlings.
The staff had their work cut out teaching and supervision the disabled crews. Over several months of almost benign 'neglect' this gentleman started to look around; to focus as best he could. He learned to pay attention. Soon he was lifting a hand and pointing to pots. He would mumble to whoever sat next to him. Soon after he wanted a pot to plant in. In six months he was walking in the fields and tending the plants. He spoke.
It is not just 'care' but Nature that works.
While I was there we expanded to retail in addition to wholesale. We staffed our retail outlet with our 'clients'.
This brought the public directly into contact with the people who would otherwise have been quite invisible to them. And both thrived.
The ABC even did a Gardening program at our facilities:
For people with disabilities, finding meaningful work can be a real problem. But at a nursery called Knoxbrooke over a hundred people with varying disabilities find meaningful work and are able to exercise a real love for plants and the environment.
Knoxbrooke, about 30 kilometres east of Melbourne, is a non-government, not-for-profit organisation which provides services to people with disabilities. Jay Pinkster is the chief training officer.
He says that each week about 90 people with disabilities access the service. “We also have school groups and volunteers and work-for-the-dole people coming in and about 25 staff who manage the site”.It’s a wholesale production nursery and there are many repetitive tasks and a lot of labour that's required. This includes potting up, tubing, preparing plants for sale - they need to be bar coded, labelled, weeded and topped up with potting mix.Jay says the repetitive nature of the tasks definitely suits the workers because people with disabilities often like routine and a stable environment. “It’s something they feel comfortable with and are familiar with. “There's a great atmosphere here, it's a really fun place to work in that regard,” he says.Many of the workers at the nursery have an intellectual disability. Michael Hill had a stroke nine years ago but since then he has put himself through several horticultural classes provided by Knoxbrooke and is now one of the facility's principal trainers.Michael says that he has moved into the role of an assistant teacher or a skills mentor. This involves working with plants but is more “one on one with the guys or with a specific team to help build skills and help with the general flow of particular work groups,” he says.Walking through the propagation shed there is a great sense of camaraderie between all the people.
Michael says it seems a bit cheesy to say we're a big family but for a lot of the people here, it's about getting together with their workmates rather than being a part of a workforce, and it gives people responsibilities and a social outlet.He says, “We are also not just about employment, but about providing training to empower people to get out there in open employment”.Michael says the nursery offers a certificate 1 class in horticulture. “But rather than having big manuals, with lots of botanical names, we've simplified it to having pictures of tools, personal protective equipment and materials needed for the job. It helps plan the work routine and gets people to work independently. This has revolutionised the way we teach and probably cut our class times by about 75 per cent”.Jay says there is also a big push at the moment in the disability sector to try and prepare people for open employment. “I can get employers to take extended work placements for people with disabilities but when you say - Do you want to sign them on as an employee- there's a real reluctance to do that”.
There is a lot one could say about the mentally disabled. We can see them coming these days. Medical science can spot them in the womb.
Unfortunately a different sort of mental disability rules out here in 'normal-land' and such people advocate killing disabled babies before they become a 'problem'. Able babies too.
It is sad. It is mad. It is Bad.
A mentally disabled person, baby, teen or adult, is NOT a problem but an Opportunity to ask the Question: "What ails thee Uncle?"
They are opportunities for you and I to be ..
Human; to Love; to Care.
Our society tries hard to disable us. It tells women particularly that they are 'oppressed': it 'empowers' them with victimhood and envy, whines and demands. At the same time it punishes the oppressors' -MEN !!!(tm). It takes responsibility from families, parents, fathers, and hands it to young female zozchial verkers freshly minted from our cultural-marxist Universities. Idiot 22 year olds have power to wreak havoc.
Victimhood abounds like a new desirable suit. And we ignore the real disadvantaged amongst us.
We ARE the Village Idiots.
For allowing it.
We even vote-in idiots.
Thank Him above for the people that staff the Knoxbrookes of this world. I would have them at my back in Battle.
So does He.
Oh, I quite like that one...beautifully told, and very evident there is still love in the tavern for memoires of simple joy and wonder.ReplyDelete
Thank you, Anon. Be sure to look up Knoxbrooke. The work goes on.Delete
This one needs linking to tomorrow morning.ReplyDelete
I will look forward to it. :)Delete
And inspiring tale, it reminds me that patience (and understanding) is a virtue and it reaps many rewards :-)ReplyDelete
Patience, kindness and simple human respect can be free ly given. However.... most respect and patience has to be earned. The truely disabled pay a high price for our patience and kindness. There are many people in the world who demand respect and patience when it is not their due and we waste a lot of it. Cast ye not pearls before swine, but also be sure that the person one is dealing with is not a pig.Delete
All too often in our society we are told that this class of people or that are 'deprived' or 'victims'. It is rarely us of course. Those groups steal kindnesses; they 'offend' easily if we ask them to be responsible for themselves and their actions.
But there are real people who NEED us. To those we can ask the Fundemental Question: the one that opens a door for us as well as them. "What ails thee ?". And if we are clear in our selves we can go on to ask ourselves just why we are being kind or patient. Is it for ourselves? Is it for those who are in need? Is it for 'show' or accolade? That leads to the next Fundemental Question: "Whom does the Grail Serve?"