SPROWT ARTICLE | Osório Lucas
Misfit Citizens and Other Nonconformities
Once upon a time, there was a company of nonconformists, young and daring, who had the idea that they wanted to change society and make it a bit more inclusive. It all began at CERCI, a center where “misfit citizens” coexisted—whose only misfitting trait was the fact that society didn’t want to adapt to them!—and where these nonconformists learned a lot about inclusion.
“How can we contribute to society understanding that these misfit citizens are, after all, equal to any of us, if not more special, because they can make any place they enter shine and make the people they interact with better?” asked one of the daring young individuals.
After some consultations, they reached the following conclusion: “We have to be the first to adapt before asking society to do it! Let’s create an inclusive employment project and show everyone how we are all equal!”
But where to start? The nonconformists rolled up their sleeves and got to work right away: they talked a lot about what inclusion meant, consulted experts on the subject (from the Forum of Mozambican Associations for Disability to Associations for the Deaf and Blind and Visually Impaired, psychiatrists, and psychologists specializing in special needs), built ramps, adapted bathrooms, took sign language classes, and initiated extensive conversations about inclusion within the company. Everyone in the company should be prepared to welcome citizens with disabilities—from those called “misfits” to those with some form of sensory or physical impairment.
And so, in April 2019, the nonconformists included 15 very special citizens as their colleagues. Most had never worked before; they only knew how to do things with a lot of love and precision. They adapted and integrated more quickly than many other citizens considered “normal.” They transformed a company and all its workers, who began taking lessons in inclusion home and to their community every day.
The nonconformists still refuse to conform because there is much more to be done. That’s why they continue to invite other companies to join them on this beautiful path of inclusion.