Vantage employs local deaf workers to build school for the deaf
When Vantage was awarded the contract to build a School for the Deaf in Lome, Togo, by the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), the intention was to continue the company philosophy of employing local labor, an ethos perfect for this USACE Humanitarian Assistance project; a gift to the local community in Lome. However, Vantage PM Billy Ellens was particularly thrilled when three local men applied for work. Adaya Kokou, Bokovi Amegbo Marcellina, and Adjinou Kodjo (pictured above) are themselves deaf. After interview, Billy gladly offered the men a job, and has not looked back since, “The guys are great.We have adapted the way we do things, such as using hand signals to communicate, and providing extensive visual demonstrations when teaching the guys new methods. They are very willing to learn and it is great to be able to give them a break they may not have got elsewhere”.
Vantage is committed to supporting the local communities they are engaged in, and adding new skill sets directly to the local people is a key factor in this vision. The aforementioned was apparent when Adjinou explained why he enjoys working at Vantage, “they give us that chance in life when many would not employ us. I really enjoy learning new skills.” Adaya says, “It feels good not to be judged because we are deaf, and we got integrated into the group Easily and like any other would.” Each man is ambitious. Bokovi would “love to learn everything there is to know about construction in order to continue working in the industry.” Adaya would like to become a Construction Manager, and Adjinou would like the skills he has learned at Vantage to enable him to travel the world working in construction. All parties are excited to see the faces of the children when their new school, decorated in bright colors, is unveiled. The three men in this report are a great example that the future of these children can be as bright as the walls, realizing the Vantage ambition to ‘leave the world a better place than we found it.’