In 2012, Elly came to Ottawa from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where she had been working as a Legal Assistant in a law firm. She has volunteer experience in Canada. Her husband has been taking English language courses and her three sons are in school.
In 2017, Elly graduated with high honours from the Law Clerk program at Algonquin College (new window). She uses a cane for mobility and a wheelchair for longer distances because of polio earlier in her life. She also experiences weakness and pain in her wrists after a fall in 2016.
Elly attended both one-to-one and group Working Together sessions to identify barriers to employment, learn about solutions to those barriers, and learn how to disclose a disability to an employer. She says, “Working Together is a kind of guide. They give you knowledge and tools and then I decide from within, depending on my strengths.”
During the Working Together program, voice recognition software was recommended as an assistive technology solution to reduce the amount of keyboarding Elly needs to do. She participated in our Distance Computer Comfort program to learn Dragon NaturallySpeaking® (new window). She had one-to-one lessons with our Distance Computer Comfort Coordinator, learning and having fun. We could hear laughter from the classroom every session.
During Working Together, Elly learned about a Vocational Mentorship Program (VMP) for people with disabilities offered by another community organization. VMP matched her with REACH Canada (new window), a non-profit offering limited, free legal services for people with disabilities.
For six weeks, Elly attended legal clinics on a weekly basis, where she participated in client interviews that law students conduct prior to a referral to a lawyer. Through this experience, she learned a lot about the challenges people with disabilities face in the legal system.
Elly secured a second mentorship placement with the National Education Association of Disabled Students (new window), where she researched legal resources to help students and graduates who are looking for work.
Elly says, “I love my Neil Squire family – the other participants. We share our perspectives and come away feeling more positive about the future.”
We know Elly will eventually be entering law school and wish her all the best in her qualifying year of university.
The Working Together with Employers and Enhancing Employability
program is funded by the Government of Canada’s
Opportunities Fund for Persons with Disabilities