For people with intellectual disabilities, living independently can be difficult. In many communities across the US, “sheltered workshops” were proposed as a solution to this difficulty. In sheltered workshops people with disabilities performed simple tasks for reduced pay. Now however, Rhode Island is redefining the role of people with disabilities in the workforce, following the closure of one of the state’s largest sheltered workshops. The shop was accused of failing to adequately pay its employees and of violating their civil rights by isolating them from society. Two of the workshop’s previous employees see the end of the workshop as an opportunity to live completely independently for the first time. Lori Sousa and Peter Maxmean met each other while working at the now closed workshop. The documentary below, produced by the New York Times, lets us share their wedding day. Previously working for pay averaging $1.57 an hour, the couple is now working together to flourish at living independently – and they’re doing pretty well. To hear more of Peter and Lori’s story, the New York Time‘s companion article can be read here.
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