When people face difficulties, they either give up or become stronger than ever. Jacqueline Makary, also known as Em Semaan, lost her son two years ago. Semaan became ill and passed away twenty days later.
This tragedy crushed Jaqueline's hopes and dreams so she closed her beauty salon. She worked her entire life to provide the best future for her son.
Fourty days after her son's death, she visited a center for people with special needs in Zgharta. It's where she discovered a different world and a new perspective on life. Jaqueline started visiting the center more often and became a volunteer.
She eventually reopened her beauty salon and placed a donation box to support the activities that she is organizing at the center.
Her friend invited her to visit Australia. It's there that she learned that there is a restaurant in Turkey that employs people with special needs only. That's when she decided to open Ozzy in Ehden!
The resto-café is run by 15 employees that were trained by Jaqueline. She cooks and they help her in the kitchen and wait tables. They are paid every month and the rest of the money goes to projects that aim to help people with special needs integrate into society.
Ozzy the only restaurant in Lebanon that employs people with disabilities. It's a wonderful initiative that hopes to inspire other companies to hire people with special needs because they can make a valuable contribution to the workforce.
Lebanon to enforce employment of people with special needs this year
Eighteen years ago, a law that requires companies to hire people with special needs was enacted. The Ministry of Labor said that it would start implementing Law 220, according to a source.
The law states that small companies, typically the ones with 30-6 employees, must hire at least one qualified person with special needs. Larger companies "must have at least three percent of their workforce with special needs."
The public sector shall appoint at least 3% of the global number of positions in the different categories to disabled people.
A penalty is also set in the article for companies that do not employ people with special needs. They will be fined an amount of double the minimum wage for every unemployed disabled person. The penalties must be paid to the Ministry of Labor.
Companies have until October 19, 2018 to comply with the law.