Background: Born with a leg disability, Ahmed Hamza’s story highlights resilience. In his final year of high school, Ahmed and his family moved to Türkiye from Syria. Ahmed earned a degree in business administration and later a master’s in international trade, showcasing his dedication and pursuit of knowledge.
Diverse Professional Roles: Before joining the family business, Ahmed ventured into diverse professional roles, serving as an accountant and administrator. These experiences equipped him with an understanding of business operations and instilled in him a perspective on the intersection of disability and workplace dynamics.
Empowering Through Challenges: Ahmed’s early career was marked by challenges, where employers often failed to recognize the unique strengths that individuals with disabilities bring to the table. Despite facing initial hurdles, Ahmed emerged stronger, emphasizing the importance of empowerment and providing individuals with disabilities the time and support needed for optimum productivity.
Transition to Family Business: Following his diverse professional roles, Ahmed’s journey took a significant turn when he joined his family’s established business, Hala Style, in 2016. With a background in the same field in Syria, specializing in sewing wedding suits. Currently serving as the manager of Hala Style, Ahmed’s decision to join the family business was fueled, in part, by a desire to avoid the challenges faced in other workplaces due to his disability and the absence of suitable workplaces.
Empowering Abilities: In Ahmed’s view, individuals with disabilities possess unique abilities that, when recognized, contribute to the success of any workplace. He emphasizes the need to move beyond traditional notions of productivity and instead focus on the distinctive qualities that individuals with disabilities bring to their roles.
Workplace Accommodations and Simple Solutions: Reflecting on his own experiences, Ahmed says “Simple and cost-effective workplace accommodations empower individuals with disabilities to work independently, upholding their integrity.”
A Positive Example of Inclusivity: Ahmed shares a positive example from his own career, where a supervisor’s cooperation and understanding made a significant impact. In a previous administrative role, Ahmed worked alongside a shipping supervisor who demonstrated exceptional understanding. Recognizing Ahmed’s mobility challenges, the supervisor took proactive steps. Instead of requiring Ahmed to navigate two floors down to oversee details, the supervisor ensured that all necessary information was promptly sent to Ahmed’s office. This thoughtful accommodation not only highlighted the importance of minor adjustments but also showcased the positive impact of collaborative efforts on productivity and team cohesion.
Advocating for workplace changes, Ahmed believes simple adjustments are key to upholding the integrity of individuals with disabilities. Making workplaces accessible empowers individuals to work independently, reducing the need for constant assistance. Ahmed sees these changes not only as vital for personal autonomy, but also for fostering a culture of inclusivity and support in the professional world.
Advocacy for a Supportive Society: Ahmed emphasizes, “Civil society organizations play a pivotal role in creating awareness and advocating for the employment of people with disabilities.” He believes that a supportive society starts with organizations prioritizing inclusivity and spreading awareness campaigns.
Family, Community, and Workplace Responsibility: According to Ahmed, the responsibility to support individuals with disabilities extends from the family to the wider community and the workplace. This collective effort, he believes, is essential in creating an environment where everyone, regardless of ability, can thrive.
Conclusion: Ahmed Hamza’s journey exemplifies the transformative impact of inclusivity in SMEs. His experiences underscore the untapped potential within individuals with disabilities, stressing the importance of simple accommodations for a more productive workplace. Ahmed actively encourages the inclusion of qualified individuals with disabilities in his business, extending this call to other SMEs and the wider community.
Emphasizing the potential for job creation, Ahmed highlights the advantages not only for individuals with disabilities but also for the entire community. Ahmad says that inclusivity is not only a social responsibility but a pathway to success for individuals and the community as a whole.