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lEARN WITH ESS fOUNDER - Azeem amir
Why did you start Learn With ESS?
‘to deepen societal understanding of the daily life experiences faced by individuals with disabilities.'
Being born with a visual impairment, I've faced many challenges articulating the nuances of my life to others. Despite describing the positives, negatives, and unique challenges, the gap in understanding persists for those who haven't experienced it firsthand. To bridge this divide, I created workshops that immerse society in the experiences of people with disabilities. My goal is for participants not only to reconsider their attitudes when encountering someone with a disability but also to reflect on how they felt and what support they needed from the people around them during this experience. The workshops aim to shed light not only on visible disabilities like visual impairment but also on invisible challenges such as dyslexia, dyspraxia, learning difficulties, autism, and ADHD, amongst a few. Through these initiatives, I aim to foster a more inclusive dialogue about diverse abilities and challenges in society.
Tell me about your mission statement:
‘Changing the way society OFFERS a helping hand.’
Crafting a mission statement for our work posed a unique challenge, and my journey in formulating it unfolded in a somewhat unconventional manner. Over the past few years, we've conducted workshops nationwide, spanning diverse settings like schools, corporate businesses, and sports clubs. As these sessions evolved and left a positive impact on countless individuals, a realisation dawned on me. Whether engaging with a reception class or a corporate office, the key to workshop success lay in fostering teamwork and mutual support during activities. The workshops aimed to cultivate the crucial skill of team building, revealing that seemingly straightforward tasks could become challenging when viewed from the perspective of someone with a disability. The sessions' mantra became clear: society faces difficulties, obstacles, and challenges, but offering a helping hand can significantly aid in overcoming them. Thus, our message focused on the belief that a helping hands goes a long way in empowering others.
I believe that our initiative stands out as exceptionally unique, surpassing previous efforts in terms of innovation, distinctive ambassadors, tailor-made workshops, and a profound emphasis on the emotional impact and value experienced by participants. While similar initiatives may have existed, our approach redefines the landscape with unparalleled ideas and attention to individual experiences. Our workshops, meticulously designed and delivered, have garnered transformative feedback, highlighting the lasting impact and value they provide. Changing societal perceptions of disability, particularly by focusing on the social model of disability. Through this paradigm shift, we aspire to foster a more inclusive, reflective, and empathetic perspective.
'Our approach redefines the landscape with unparalleled ideas and attention to individual experience.'
Why do you think learn With ESS is needed?
Tell me about why you chose this type of structure for the workshops?
'Recognising diverse learning styles, we strive to cater to everyone.'
The three-part structure comprising education, sport, and speaking is designed to create a lasting impact and memorable experience for participants. Recognising diverse learning styles, we strive to cater to everyone, ensuring accessibility to the workshops in various ways. In the educational component, we view it as an opportunity to learn, destigmatise topics, and initiate conversations. Group work serves as a platform for discussing societal issues that might otherwise be uncomfortable. Bringing in specialists enhances understanding and fosters comfort with these topics. The sports segment is dedicated to providing a hands-on experience, fostering skills in empathy, teamwork, and gratitude. Through practical engagement, participants can feel these concepts, and its emotional connection we hope they carry away from the workshops. The speaking element allows ambassadors to share lived experiences and stories, providing a forum for participants to ask questions. The aim is for these narratives, along with motivating quotes and references, to be etched in participants memories, serving as sources of inspiration and reflection
‘Where individuals share their positive experiences, underscores the workshop's effectiveness, creating a sense of fulfilment.'
How do you evaluate the impact of Learn With ESS so far?
As we continue our journey to determine the most effective means of gauging workshop impact, testimonials emerge as a significant avenue, providing genuine participant feedback. These testimonials offer valuable insights into participants' experiences, the lessons they carry, and the positive changes implemented in their lives, organisations, and schools, fostering inclusivity. Measurement extends to the quantity of individuals engaged, an example being schools serving as key indicators. Our goal is to impact a person and organisation in some capacity. Additionally assessing value and impact often involves word-of-mouth recommendations. I've come to recognise that the most impactful feedback manifests in recommendations. When someone who has directly experienced our workshops recommends them, it signifies a personal understanding of the derived impact and value. This chain of recommendations, where individuals share their positive experiences, underscores the workshop's effectiveness, creating a sense of fulfilment.
The Learn With ESS coaching and delivery team consists of a variety of unique individuals from an array of diverse backgrounds. A collective group of enthusiastic and energetic coaches who drive to give our clients and partners the best workshop experience out there. With a mixture of football and multisport qualifications intertwined with in-house training around disability awareness as well as each individuals personal insights, we are extremely excited to see where Learn With ESS can progress to in the very near future!
“Being taught how it feels to lose your senses and do such simple tasks like holding a ball in your hand and walking was such an eye opener. It's fantastic to see the growth of education & Great work sport around pan disability from everyone involved.” - ctd global.
“Great session.. First time a guest speaker really connected with the brief. His delivery was perfect and he absolutely inspired me to think more about how we use all or skills to get better outcomes.” - MANPOWER.
“We all came away so much more knowledgeable about the considerations which we should be making in our everyday lives and it was the talking point of the rest of the afternoon!!” - Nick Shepherd Business growth hub.
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