Mathieu Vaassen, Founder
The beginning of this story started when I worked for Philips Components in The Netherlands as an Analyst Developer. While working for Philips I was involved in a workplace accident which resulted in my partial paralysis. My ability, all of a sudden, to be productive in society in my former capacity was impossible. Specialists held no hope for improvement or recovery but despite that diagnose, I made a partial recovery and in my analytic developer’s mind began to think how I could improve my life and the life of those in similar circumstances.
For the past few years, I have researched the possibility of improving the social standing of those with disability – how to increase their quality of life. How can we help them have or continue a career and have productive lives? The rise of social media makes it easier to find and target certain kinds of people, especially people who are able to work in the digital domain and are capable of producing good service. Yet despite these advances and the fact that there are many disabled people who are active in the popular social media sites (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram) there is still no social platform that connects and supports their community.
Nor are the popular mainstream sites (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram) built for people with disabilities. This drove me to start Room For Work. The objective is a social media portal for both people with disabilities and organizations who would like to employ them. Give everyone the ability to network, present herself/himself (a profile page like LinkedIn) and show their work (with a work example timeline, like Facebook or Instagram). We have attracted the attention of the European Union, the EU cabinet president, Sir. B. Smulders who invited us for a presentation was very impressed and wants to support the project.
It became clear after a presentation at Autism Europe that there is a great deal of work to be done (networking, promotion, work providers organization, user recruiting). Our role at RoomForWork is to build a platform that connects European organizations. European (N. American & Asian organizations are also interested) and Autism users (both individual and caretaker). This platform will give 70 million Autism spectrum individuals and 850 million disabled people a chance to connect with others to first find productive work. Room for Work will also be the meeting place for networking. The vision is a social media portal.
Starting with Autism: A Pressing Critical Domain
Eventually, Room for Work wants to collaborate with all 70 state Autism organizations in Europe, the EU government and the United Nations. Start by providing one central point where information flow and data are organized and managed by the users and the organizations themselves (government departments, companies offering work, etc…) Provide a place to find and describe their skills and expertise regardless of the disability. Our mission is to meet people within those government bodies which can advise and assist us in making this reality and create unity for the forgotten audience of this world.
Room for Work Starting Services
Improve the quality of life and chances of successfully finding a job for people with autism and other minor disabilities. Also, enable more fair gender equality for woman in finding and getting an appropriate job (which they could not obtain in today’s chaotic job search reality). Our initial goals are:
- To support and stimulate strategies and technologies which help to find young people productive work (which fits their abilities and is not limited by their disabilities).
- Develop partnerships with organizations within the private and public sectors who can stimulate and develop strategies that help fight against poverty (public-private collaboration).
- To assure technology advantages are available to everyone especially information and communication technologies (which now are not accessible for everyone notably disabled audiences).
With Room for Work we create a new world within social media that binds and to structure the forgotten audiences. It will be a tool for everyone to benefit.
Revitalizing International Partnerships and Sustainable Development
In 2015 the world leaders agreed and committed themselves to a new agenda for 2030. they all agreed that the world needs new sustainable developments that end world poverty and to effectively combat climate change. We need everybody in this fight, we need to work together with governments private and social sectors alike. But why? Well, we are all citizens of this world if we do not take care of the planet and each other we are doomed to fail.
We need to put more emphasis on partnerships and research agreements in order to change the world for the better. What we need to do in order to accomplish this agenda. We need to mobilize current as non-current recourses, technological developments, financial resources, capital construction, third world countries, and Multi-stakeholder partnerships will be crucial between European and international countries in order to truly impact the world and speed up the project.
How can we make sure that the resources and developments are used effectively and correctly?
This will be mainly the responsibility of the participating countries. There will be regular evaluations whereby the social sector and business sector as well the different interest groups are concerned. The country will share their results on a regional level.
Results will be shared at the annual meeting were at the highest level of a political forum for sustainable developments to draw up the balance sheet at a global level. To identify new problems and discuss and analyze new solutions.