Kjara Kolmorgen, a German BBA student at The Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management (EAHM), volunteered to be part of the first-of-its-kind academic programme for the people of determination with Down Syndrome in the field of hospitality in collaboration with Emirates Down Syndrome Association (EDSA).

Why did you decide to volunteer to assist the EDSA students during the culinary classes?
I have previously volunteered in various social projects such as The Peace Centre, an orphanage in Uganda and teaching English to people of determination in China. Being part of such projects has become a strong passion of mine and I believe that even small actions can have a great impact. Unfortunately, there is a lack of these projects in the UAE and thus when the opportunity at EAHM with EDSA came up, I straight away knew that I would love to contribute and support this initiative. I assisted the students in the kitchen whilst Chef Kitts taught them how to prepare a variety of dishes.

How was your time spent with the students? 
Despite some challenges in the kitchen, the students never lost their smile. This really made my day and showed me again what impact just a small smile can have. Furthermore, I am really happy for them, to get this opportunity to learn some essential aspects of the hospitality industry such as culinary, housekeeping and service, as it will certainly benefit them in the future.  

How prepared do you think they are to enter the industry?
They definitely have the potential to learn and shine in the hospitality industry. Although you may need to work a little harder in explaining certain points to the students, once they understood, they are quite determined and precise in practice. I can tell that some of them really were very eager to learn, which was great to see. 

What did you take away from this experience?
As just mentioned, we needed to take our time to explain certain things, maybe even 2,3,4 times. Thus, this required patience. But not only that, there was also the language barrier between me and the students, as their English is limited and so is my Arabic. Nevertheless, our communication worked, and it underlined that with the will and patience a lot of things are possible. I will miss the students and their contagious smiles! Thanks EDSA! 

About Emirates Down Syndrome Association

Emirates Down Syndrome Association is a Humanitarian Public Benefit Association accredited by the Ministry of Community Development in 2006 to serve the people of determination with Down Syndrome from birth and of all ages and nationalities. They believe in including and empowering them by achieving their full potential and maximizing their skills to participate effectively and productively in society.