Life of Sunny People: Ivan Burkivskiy
Today the world marks Down syndrome day. We start our series devoted to people with this condition. For Ukrainian Ivan Burkivskiy, who has Down syndrome, it is rather difficult to find spare time. Ivan does boxing and has two jobs. Several times a week, the 26-year-old works at a jewelry factory in his native town. One day a week, he goes to Kyiv - and works there at a supermarket. Our correspondent Anna Romanovska brings us his story
Every Monday, Ivan is at work. His task is to check the relevance of prices in the book department.
“I do like my job,” a hypermarket worker Ivan Burkivskiy said.
16 hours a month, Ivan scans price tags with a special device.
If the price on the screen does not match the price indicated on the shelf – the tag must be placed vertically. This will help Ivan’s colleges understand that the price tag must be changed.
“If it shows the wrong price, I do this,” Ivan Burkivskiy said.
In one working day, Ivan manages to scan about 150 books – that is 7 shelves.
“Comparing with how he worked from the very beginning, the progress now is from 60% to 70%,” Head of Book Department, Oleksandr Vertiuk said.
It took about 2 months for the social project staff to find a suitable job for Ivan, as he wanted to work with devices.
“Work with gadgets doesn’t require constant communication with customers, and he can cope with it on his own,” project manager Ivanna Vikhtinska said.
Ivan earns about 800 hryvnias, which is almost 30 dollars, for four working days a month. Most of the money he spends getting to the book department – as he lives outside the city. However, the opportunity to work is more important for Ivan than earning money. People with Down syndrome treat it as a great tool for becoming more socially engaged.
“It is clear that at first it was hard for him. There are 6 employees – working in our book department – and he found a common language with them. I can even say that now he is close to them,” Oleksandr Vertiuk said.
However, it is difficult for Ivan to speak with strangers. Sometimes, he becomes nervous, and cannot answer customer’s questions at once.
“We created an instruction for him. If people ask him something, and he doesn’t know the answer, he has to say: ‘Sorry, I don’t know’,” Ivanna Vikhtinska said.
“Now, the situation got better. He already knows the assortment of goods quite well. When people ask him where they could find a certain book, he either sends them to another employee if he does not know it – or shows where the book is,” Vertiuk added.
Four more people with Down syndrome work in other stores of this supermarket chain. A girl – who comes from the city Ivan lives in – will soon work in this same store.