Inclusion Works: Meet Joshua

Thanks to his talent and hard work, Joshua turned a temp job into a permanent contract—working for Ajax Football Club!
Photo 1: A man standing in a kitchen wearing an apron and medals around his neck smiles at the camera. Photo 2: A man wearing sunglasses, a baseball cap, t-shirt and shorts swings his tennis racket with a crowd of spectators in the  background.

In his early years, Joshua had difficulty walking and talking due to developmental dysphasia. He learned to walk with the help of a physiotherapist and entered special education with the support of a speech therapist. Through practical courses in his school, Joshua discovered that he had a flair for cooking and soon achieved numerous certificates in cooking.

Two years ago, Joshua was offered a one-month work placement in the kitchens of AFC Ajax, one of the largest football clubs in Europe. Thanks to his talent and hard work, when that month ended, he was offered a contract, and he has now been in the role for two years!

“Now, I am very proud to say that I have a 32-hour per week work contract,” says Joshua. “In the kitchen I help the chefs with cleaning, cutting, peeling fruits and vegetables … Of course, I also help to keep the kitchen clean. I’m really proud of my job. It’s important work because I am helping people to eat healthily.”

Joshua took time out from his full-time job earlier this year when he represented Special Olympics Netherlands at the Special Olympics World Games in Abu Dhabi. He won gold in tennis singles and silver in the doubles competition.

“My workplace is really nice, it feels like home. My colleagues accept me as I am. I’m really happy Ajax gave me the chance to work in their kitchen.”
Joshua Diseraad

Every day, Joshua and AFC Ajax are showing that INCLUSION WORKS!

As we move forward, we need to know you’re with us. Be a revolutionary and help end discrimination against people with Intellectual Disabilities.
Recommended Content
Josh is both an athlete and athlete leader, who’s also a member of his state Special Olympics Board.
1 Min Read
From Student to Teacher: Meet Clari
All her life, Clari has been leading the way to inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities—in schools, in sports and in the workplace!
0:30
A Born Leader: Meet Cindy
Cindy is a Special Olympics athlete who learned to set, reach and exceed her goals through sports. She brings that same determination to the workplace, as she leads an advocacy group for people with intellectual disabilities.
0:35