Real work: paid work in the regular labour market. Frederik Wauterickx dreamed of that. He has Down syndrome, but this did not stop him from making his dream come true. Frederik has a passion for writing, applied for a job at Creative Writing vzw and is now working there as an administrative assistant with a permanent contract of indefinite duration. A first for Flanders.
According to director An Leenders, “Everyone has the right to equal opportunities, regardless of disability, race or gender. Together with Frederik, they looked for where his talents lie, what he likes to do and where the match lies with the work we have to offer. Frederik is good at administration. He currently works for them three days a week and they can’t do without him anymore.” If Frederik encounters difficulties, he will talk to one of his colleagues in order to look for a solution. “Open and good communication is very important,” says Frederik.
In other countries, people with Down syndrome have been paid on the regular labour market for some time. “In Flanders, it is always said that work does not pay because of the loss of benefits: income-replacement benefit (IVT) and integration benefit (IT). However, this is not correct. Working in the regular labour market always pays off. This does not alter the fact that things can still be improved and that adjustments to the regulations are necessary for this.” says Marleen Billen, spokeswoman for GRIP, the human rights organization for people with disabilities.
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