A natural equine woman
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