Merrypak has been in business for the past 30 years. They are the trusted manufactures of paper carrier bags and boxes in Cape Town.
About six years ago they made a decision to embrace the concept of inclusive employment, hiring people with intellectual disabilities.
Julie Tobiansky, one of the managers at Merrypak says she was concerned when they hired the first person with intellectual disability, because they've never worked with someone like that before.
I don't know what i was worried about because our staff was just amazing and they welcomed her as one of their own. She was immediately part of the family— Julie Tobiansky, one of the managers at Merrypak
Months later Tobiansky met Anne Craft from Work for You, an organization which take in young people with special needs and prepare them for the job market. Merrypak started by employing four people from Work for You and it snowballed from there.
Since then parents find us, and we've welcomed about 24 special needs staff with intellectual disabilities.— Julie Tobiansky, one of the managers at Merrypak
Initially it felt like the right thing to do, it's far more that the right thing to do. The benefits for your work force are incredible to work along side somebody who is passionate about being at work, who wants to do whatever task they're given 100%.— Julie Tobiansky, one of the managers at Merrypak
Tobiansky appealed to other businesses who don't have a lot of red tape to open their minds to employing people that are different because they have so much to offer.
Listen to the full conversation below: