Posted onFri 3rd Dec 2021
He's an MBA graduate, a motivational speaker and an inspiration!
Anderton Kevin Naidoo has been part of RCL FOODS since 2015, when the company acquired Foodcorp. He makes an impact at RCL FOODS everyday by sharing product knowledge, skills and training staff the RCL FOODS way, through his role as KZN's Training Officer. But it's Kevin's life outside of RCL FOODS that inspires us to DO MORE.
Kevin suffers from severe bilateral hearing loss, which resulted in him being hearing impaired. He does however use a hearing aid. Throughout school, he faced relentless bullying because of it. "I have to always work twice as hard and study twice as hard, just to be recognised," he explained. But rather than shake him down, the adversity he faced stirred in him an unquenchable thirst to make a difference. "Truth be told, I will continue to be ambitious and inspire people through my behaviour and actions".
Motivated to make South Africa more accommodating for people with disabilities, Kevin joined the KZN Blind and Deaf Society in 2011, and with his experience as a former sports journalist for Tabloid Newspapers and the Rising Sun Newspapers, he thought he could put his print media skills to good use and bring the society some much needed publicity. "Being the sports journalist, I wanted to use the print media to create exposure," he explained. Having lived with a disability himself, Kevin found the society with the intention of connecting with others who have similar experience, and doing good in KZN for people like him. In a world that doesn't cater for people with disabilities, Kevin wants others to work to create a more accessible environment. To him, in order to do that, everyone needs to incorporate disability into their everyday life: "Firstly, we could at least try and understand the challenges that people with disability face on a daily basis. Secondly, try to accommodate them in society in terms of social understanding. Thirdly, create work opportunities for people with disability".
With these as his guiding pillars for a just society, Kevin employs them in his own life. In fact, while completing his MBA, he realised how inaccessible research material is for the visually impaired, and felt inspired to convert his dissertation in braille, to do his part in changing the tide. Having come from a family that depended on government grants to an extent, education was always important. For that reason, the conversion into braille held extra significance. Now, visually impaired people have access to Kevin's work, and further their education a little bit more.
The official conversion happened on the 20th of October 2021, exactly three years after Kevin's mother's passing. "My mom was surely looking down on me with a big smile," he said. "I hope that this becomes a trend where authors, academics and researchers convert their material into braille," he added. International Disability Day is today the 3rd of December 2021, and Kevin has a few thoughts to share with the world. "People with disabilities may be the best workers no one is hiring", he said. Having faced difficulties himself, Kevin knows how difficult it can be to find work and even gain promotion, and to do so without facing insensitive and ignorant people. "The stigma is still there," he explained, adding that there needs to be more sensitisation training for personnel involved in the hiring process. Today, Kevin spends a lot of time helping others with disabilities find employment. He says that to be truly diverse, companies need to include people with disabilities in their hiring pool, in learnerships and also ensure transfer of skills