My AFK is a UK-based charity that advocates for the rights of disabled children and young people. It gives disabled youths up to age 25 access to specialist equipment and helps disabled young people to get into the workplace. The charity's specially-trained team provides educational opportunities and guidance to encourage confidence and independence.
Only 56% of disabled people are currently in work. My AFK believes that this is a problem with society, not individuals. We've partnered with hundreds of national and international companies to make a much-needed change. A career provides people with financial freedom and makes them feel like a valued member of society. This is true whether you have a learning disability, a physical disability or you're non-disabled.
The My AFK Backstory
My AFK came about because of one woman's mission to help her friend secure funding for her son's wheelchair. This was 1991, and Sally Bishop was shocked that a young child who needed a specialist wheelchair couldn't do so on the NHS. It made her wonder how many underprivileged families there were who struggled to get the equipment they need. By 1992, she took action and formed Action For Kids Charitable Trust.
After a few years, My AFK started to grow. They began offering maintenance for the wheelchairs they supplied and office-based training sessions to help young disabled people get on the career ladder.
My AFK Helps Children and Young Disabled People Live Independently
In the past, it's been extremely challenging for many disabled people to get into work. This leads to a high rate of depression and low self-esteem. Disabled people have skills and qualities that are ideally suited to particular jobs, but they might need an extra hand in some areas. My AFK believes that as a society, the people who can help should help.
My AFK is working with huge companies such as Nandos, McDonald's, international law firms and consultancies to adapt jobs so disabled young people can showcase their skills. Studies have shown that getting into work sooner means young disabled people are more likely to get a job for life.
A Flexible Approach
Employers who sign up with My AFK understand that they must take a flexible approach. For example, someone with autism is likely to struggle in a face-to-face interview, for reasons beyond their control. As such, it isn't fair to make judgments based on this type of interaction.
My AFK asks that employers use a work-based trial interview to determine the skills of the trainee. From this, they can evaluate strengths and weaknesses and mold a job role. The job coaches at My AFK send trainees to interviews based on their skills, so they're not thrown in at the deep end.
Job carving is the way My AFK describes the approach managers who work with its trainees need to take to job roles. Often, someone with a disability can excel in one aspect of a job but struggle with another/ Rather than put undue pressure on them at the beginning; trainees focus on mastering one aspect of the role. As confidence grows, managers can gradually provide further training and incorporate more duties.
Raising the Bar
My AFK's ultimate aim is to get more disabled young people into work. The standards from many companies up until this point have been almost nonexistent. This charity wants to see employers making the minor adaptations necessary to empower disabled young people.
All About My AFK's Services
My AFK works with younger children to support them while they're at school, provide support during holidays, and get them the equipment they need. Let's take a more detailed look at their other services:
- Mobility Equipment
Believe it or not, disabled children can't always get the equipment they need to live safely and comfortably. My AFK's Mobility Equipment Scheme gives disabled people under age 25 specialist mobility equipment. The difference this can make to children and young people's lives is immeasurable, with a range of benefits, including:
- Living independently without depending on carers or family
- Studying towards a dream career
- Playing with friends outside and feeling included
- Develop muscle strength
- Engage safely in physical activity
- Access opportunities
- Build confidence
- Education and Training
My AFK offers support to children and young people over the age of 14 as they navigate through school and college. This time is crucial for any young person, but children with disabilities face additional adversity. Adapting to a healthy lifestyle at this young age sets our trainees up for life. My AFK offers the following educational services:
- Work experience in the My AFK office still takes place. With an edible garden project, a café and a bike shop — trainees can pick up diverse skills. They can also learn that wonderfully rewarding feeling of a job well done. During work experience training, young disabled people can learn how to work as part of a team, understand the value of communication and learn how vital timekeeping is. It's a structured and patient environment that prepares the trainees for work.
- Tutors mentor small groups of students as they learn life skills for the future. These focused sessions are excellent at preparing young disabled people for a paid job.
Short Breaks and School Holiday's Program
When parents need to work during holidays, it's not always easy to find somewhere that's equipped to look after young disabled people. My AFK offers a program where young disabled people between ages 14 and 18 can take part in fun activities and meet new people.
My AFK has been fighting for the rights of young disabled people since 1992. They're passionate about helping the people they work with to develop the confidence to live as independently as possible. It's not just about advocacy for them; they teach young disabled people the value of self-advocacy and empowerment.
Everyone deserves a voice and a say in their future. My AFK wants to help put as much power into the hands of young disabled people as possible.
Donate to My AFK Today
You can donate to the amazing My AFK at the NoLove4 checkout and contribute to changing the future of thousands of disabled children and young people.