Written by Kiana Kalantar-Hormozi, Evenbreak’s Candidate Engagement Manager.
We spoke to five different disabled candidates about their dream job as a child. We asked them what they do now. What barriers have they faced? How did they overcome them? And made a video to share their answers with the world…
As a child I wanted to be Pocahontas – yip, that was my dream job. At the age of two, it seemed like a viable career option to me.
I grew up and went through the astronaut phase. By then I was seven years old. Old enough for adults to start treating me like a person and not a gurgling baby to coo at. It was then an adult said, “You can’t be an astronaut”. Why? I asked. “Because you’re in a wheelchair and you can’t go into space with a wheelchair, they responded”.
By the age of eight, I wanted to become an actress. I saw Harry Potter on the billboards and thought ‘How come Daniel Radcliffe gets to be Harry Potter? I wanna be Harry Potter!’ I wasn’t content to sit and watch – I wanted to be in the movie.
What if you’re told you can’t do your dream job because of your disability?
Yet again I got hit with “You can’t be an actress you’re in a wheelchair”.
I was growing up and starting to wonder what I could be. Everything I wanted to do was not possible or not allowed. I didn’t understand the reasons. But they always culminated with “you’re in a wheelchair”.
I’m now near 25 years old. I’m a pro-filmmaker, semi-amateur rapper and proud member of Evenbreak. I’ve done almost every single thing people have told me I can’t do in life (when I’ve put my mind to it). I’m still working on space travel…
But back to our video! It was a challenge bringing five disabled people across the UK together on the same day. But disabled people tend to be good at problem-solving, and all five wanted to succeed.
And it was worth every minute.
Each person so different – As children, they dreamed of being a broadcaster, an actress, a fireman, a stuntwoman, and a space crew member.
Society forgets that disabled people are just as diverse and talented as non-disabled people. It was important to showcase that on video. We wanted people to hear authentic stories through the power of 21st Century technology and good old social media!
We learnt about what they do now, their hopes for the future, the barriers they’ve faced and how they’ve dealt with those barriers. We learnt about negative reactions and discrimination. All expressed concern about those two things turning into an awful self-perpetuating cycle. But we also learnt about pushing forward, no matter what.
There was one unifying message to all disabled candidates: Put yourself out there for opportunities. Know your rights. Realise that you offer immense value because of your unique experiences, and finally, believe in yourself. Enjoy!