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Zubee Kibria On Getting A Job With CP

August 19, 2019

It took me just under two years to find my current job as an events and administration assistant at a disability organisation. It wasn’t for a lack of trying. I was born with cerebral palsy and while I try not to let it get in the way of achieving my goals and aspirations, finding another role has not been easy.

I do feel that having a disability is a barrier to getting a job. I’ve applied for numerous positions over the years and it’s been rejection after rejection. It’s been very difficult to deal with, but I never gave up. Saying that, I haven’t sat idle – I’ve been volunteering for Disability Horizons, an online disability lifestyle magazine, for the past seven years.

In June I was so happy to have started a part-time job, working 17 hours a week spread over three days. My salary is £23,000. I’m enjoying it and slowly getting back into the routine of going into an office. My role involves assisting colleagues with organising and planning events, ensuring that all the logistics are in place. Advertisement

I have a real passion for events and have experience, voluntary and paid, planning and organising events such as fashion shows, coffee mornings, parties, meetings and conferences.

I’m in the process of setting up a company that works with businesses to make events more inclusive for disabled people. Attending them has made me realise that not all businesses know how to cater for everyone.

Last year I attended a fashion show which had really long queues to get in and when I did get in, there was no accessible seating for wheelchair users. Organisers need to ensure disabled people don’t have to queue for a long period; they should be given priority access.

This year I’m planning to launch Access My Events to give disabled people the opportunity to enjoy events. I’ve wanted to set up a business for a long time but faced hurdles to get to where I want to be.

I live with my parents and three sisters and one brother in Shepherd’s Bush in London. To be honest, my parents do everything for us all, but I do contribute about £80 a month to rent. I regularly go to an all-ability cycling club, which is free, and I attend a local gym that runs free activities for disabled people.

Due to my disability I have to take a taxi to work and back, which costs about £25 each way. Usually this would be funded through Access to Work (a government programme aimed at supporting disabled people to take up or remain in work) but at the moment I’m having issues getting the funding as I wish to use a particular cab firm that I use regularly. I am having to pay out of my own pocket until funding is approved. Sometimes I have to spend money on cabs separate to work. It can cost anything between £15–£20 depending on where I am travelling to.

I love holidays. Earlier this year I went on a pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia and then on to Pakistan to visit family with my parents. It set me back about £600, plus other expenses. I also love technology exhibitions as I’m really into tech.

Exhibitions tend to be expensive, but if there is anything I like I make a note of it and purchase it from a store for cheaper.

It feels great to be earning after a very long time and having that independence. Although I don’t look too far into the future, I would love my own place that’s adapted to my needs and where I can be as independent as possible. That would be really nice.

Career-wise, I’d like to focus on my company and grow a network of businesses to work with. I’m keen to make inclusivity a staple part of organising an event. I want to work to make a difference for other disabled people through my work, both paid and voluntary.

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