A nat­u­ral equine woman

Matamata Chronicle - - Front Page - REXINE HAWES

Clan­nad Her­man has a calm­ing ef­fect on the horses at Waikato Stud and the an­i­mals have a calm­ing ef­fect on her.

The 21-year-old woman is well into her first full year of em­ploy­ment as a sta­ble­hand at Courtza Park.

And while there are many peo­ple with sim­i­lar jobs in the Waikato, not many are deal­ing with the chal­lenges that face Clan­nad.

She is de­vel­op­men­tally de­layed with an au­di­tory pro­cess­ing prob­lem.

How­ever, since work­ing at Waikato Stud, Clan­nad has sig­nif­i­cantly de­vel­oped both men­tally and phys­i­cally and gained an in­cred­i­ble amount of con­fi­dence.

Her mother Jackie Gi­eschen is hope­ful it will be an ex­am­ple for em­ploy­ers to pro­vide em­ploy­ment for oth­ers with dis­abil­i­ties.

Clan­nad’s du­ties at Courtza Park, over­seen by man­agers Dale and Katie Bussey, in­clude gen­eral care of the horses, such as clean­ing horse boxes and groom­ing.

Jackie says an ex­am­ple of Clan­nad’s devel­op­ment growth is she al­ways used to write things down if she didn’t know how to ask for it, but now Clan­nad asks.

Af­ter Celia left Waikato Stud, Jackie feared Clan­nad would no longer feel com­fort­able there, but she says in fact ‘‘she to­tally stepped up to the plate’’ and seized the op­por­tu­nity to stay on.

CCS Dis­abil­ity Ac­tion’s Na­tional com­mu­ni­ca­tions, mar­ket­ing and fundrais­ing man­ager Melanie Gam­ble, who also lives in Mata­mata, says peo­ple in Clan­nad’s sit­u­a­tion are ‘‘of­ten on the outer’’.

‘‘They can be a bit ex­cluded from com­mu­nity and form­ing close net­works with peo­ple, so getting a job pro­vides that segue into parts of life that able bod­ied peo­ple take for granted.’’

Melanie says for some em­ploy­ers, giv­ing a job to a per­son with dis­abil­i­ties can be seen as ‘‘tak­ing a chance’’ but what CCS Dis­abil­ity Ac­tion ad­vo­cates for is a shift to recog­nise it’s not a risk, but an op­por­tu­nity.

Waikato Stud owner Mark Chittick says he is proud of Clan­nad for seiz­ing the op­por­tu­nity pre­sented to her.

‘‘I love giv­ing any­one an op­por­tu­nity and if they take that op­por­tu­nity and if I see them flour­ish, that’s just so sat­is­fy­ing for me.

‘‘I have seen her come out of her shell, seen her ex­cited about what she has achieved, and for all of us, that is the best re­sult we can get.’’

Dal­las Kete has cre­ated a so­lar pow­ered water test­ing kit as part of the Young En­ter­prise Scheme

Clan­nad Her­man.

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