An anonymous nomination through our #BeTheDifference initiative led us to meet Kang Wei. He was then looking for a job and wished for a suitable outfit that he could wear to interviews, which made this a very timely connection.
With cerebral palsy (CP), Kang Wei has difficulties navigating daily dressing processes that require greater dexterity. While his family members usually help him with his basic dressing needs, he moves around independently so they are not always around to help him. With these situations in mind, we decided to customise a smart casual outfit that he could easily wear by himself.
Smart Shirt, Kang Wei’s Way
Kang Wei is used to putting on and taking off his shirt over his head, like one would with a T-shirt. Taking his comfort into consideration, we designed a shirt that makes use of a similar arm motion.
To ease the shirt removal process, we added a concealed front zipper extending from the collar to mid chest and zippers at the sides to prevent the shirt from getting stuck at the chest area while being pulled up.
As small zippers are difficult for Kang Wei to grasp, we attached a loop which he could simply hook his fingers through. We also added a loop at the back of the shirt collar for him to tug on and easily pull off the shirt.
For a smart look without the finger gymnastics needed to fold a collar down, we used a mandarin collar. Additional small side slits at the bottom of the shirt prevent creasing while sitting, keeping it neat.
After Kang Wei told us that many of his pants’ zippers eventually become broken with use due to the difficulty he experiences in pulling them and consequent rough handling, we decided to use MagSnap (our magnetic buttons) as a pants fastener instead. Not only does this allow Kang Wei to snap on and off his pants in a fraction of the time he used to take (handy when nature calls!), but also provide dignity as he no longer has to worry about being unable to zip his pants when out in public. We also added an adjustable elastic waistband to ensure that the pants can adapt and meet Kang Wei’s needs for a long time.
Gaining Hope, Giving Hope
Now, Kang Wei is happily employed at his new job and we’re truly thrilled for him! He shared that when he was stressed about unemployment, the clothes we made for him gave him hope. At first, we were puzzled as to what he meant but it dawned on us that earning an income is often symbolic of independence. Thus, being able to achieve basic independence in dressing was perhaps key to giving Kang Wei the confidence he needed to continue on his job search journey. Not to forget that looking presentable in front of the interviewers provides an extra boost of self-confidence and dignity.
Kang Wei’s story with us began through our #BeTheDifference initiative – when he was nominated for it and a Well Wisher generously sponsored him a complete outfit. Out of Kang Wei’s big heart, he had decided to pay it forward and become a Well Wisher for another beneficiary. Stay tuned for our next blog post to find out the difference he made!