Paul Rahme, 19, works at McDonalds.
Paul Rahme, 19, works at McDonalds. Chrissy Harris

Community inclusion for all

PAUL Rahme's two shifts at McDonalds on Tuesday and Wednesday afternoon are the highlight of his week.

Since starting work at the fast food outlet two years ago, Paul, 19, says he's mastered many skills including mopping, sweeping and clearing tables.

"I'm doing the easy stuff first, but when I get older maybe I'll get to work in the kitchen."

Aside from gathering skills, Paul said he was also saving for a new house, a car and the wife he hopes to have one day.

His mum Pearl said that being a part of the workforce gave Paul "purpose in life" and had taught him about responsibility.

Paul agreed.

"I get bored when I do nothing. It's good for me to go to work," he said.

Pearl also works as a facilitator at the Community Hub, a centre that caters for people living with disability.

She said that inclusiveness within the community was vital and that Disability Action Week, which begins today and runs through to this Friday, was a great way to encourage it.

"Paul's working because that's what everybody does.

"We forget that he has a disability. We expect him to act like everyone else, because we know he can."

The theme for this year's Disability Action Week is "Empower, enable, everybody".

It's a philosophy Gladstone Regional Council community development officer Andrea Hughes suggested the community adopt.

"It's an excellent time to consider how we as individuals and as a community can make this area more inclusive for people with a disability," Ms Hughes said.

"It's vitally important that we are welcoming to all people, accepting of differences and recognise the contributions of all community members."

A series of activities will run this week to celebrate Disability Action Week.

Contact the Community Hub on 4979 2777 for details or visit the centre at 9 Buller Street.



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