At the age of four, Steven Kong (59) lost his hearing due to a high fever. At that time, his family faced financial difficulties and could not afford to seek timely medical assistance.
Despite his profound hearing loss, Steven persevered and remained determined to lead a fulfilling and independent life. While Steven was looking for a job, he learnt from his friend about TOUCH Silent Club (TSC)'s Work Assistance Programme (WAP), which aims to job-match deaf clients with job opportunities.
Caption: Steven (second from left) together with his colleagues
Through the WAP, TSC helped match Steven to employers who hire persons with disabilities. With TSC's assistance during the job application process, including interpreting services during interviews, Steven secured a job within two months with O’Connor’s Singapore Pte Ltd in 2017. A partner of TSC since 2017, O'Connor's Singapore has since employed more than three deaf individuals through TSC's WAP.
Today, Steven works as a senior operator, where he ensures the timely submission of administrative work and reports. A friendly and outgoing person, Steven also serves as a mentor to his new colleagues, providing guidance and help whenever they face challenges.
Although communication with his hearing colleagues can be challenging at times, Steven plays a crucial role in mediating between his deaf and hearing colleagues, facilitating a better understanding between them.
Caption: Steven and his supervisor, Roxanne (third from left)
In celebration of Steven's fifth year at the company this year, O’Connor's Singapore invited TSC to conduct a workshop on ‘Workplace Communication with the Deaf’ where colleagues could understand more about the Deaf community and learn some basic sign language.
Caption: Steven and his colleagues at the workshop on Workplace Communication with the Deaf. Participants included O'Connor's General Manager and colleagues from sister companies United Engineers Limited and WBL Engineering & Distribution.
“Reaching this milestone has brought me a sense of comfort and confidence that I can do the job just like other hearing individuals! I'm grateful for the opportunity to be part of the company and I'm appreciative of my supervisor and colleagues who are ready to help when I need it,” signs Steven, who helped as a facilitator during the workshop.
Caption: Steven helping out as a facilitator during the workshop.
“I'm thankful to TOUCH for helping me secure employment and for being there to offer support when I need it!”
TOUCH Silent Club (TSC) aims to help every deaf person integrate into the society and empower them to be independent individuals by offering guidance in the areas of education, vocation, recreation and social development. Besides organising social and recreational activities for the Deaf, we also provide job placement, job counselling and lifeskills training under the Work Assistance Programme. TSC also organises sign language courses for the public to raise awareness about the Deaf and promote integration.
For more information, please email [email protected].
Story published in 2023