Quadriplegic after assault resumes work on the Metro – 03/17/2023 – Market
In 1991, Marco Pellegrini, 58, was the victim of a robbery at his front door, in which a shot left him quadriplegic. At the age of 27, the employee of the Metropolitan Company of São Paulo found himself away from his activities, with colleagues and employees of the INSS (National Institute of Social Security) discredited that one day he would return to work.
“It’s curious because colleagues would visit me at the hospital, at home, invite me to company parties, and I would always say ‘don’t empty my drawer, I’ll be back’, and the class saw it with pity, with pity”, he says.
Pellegrini reports that discrimination was the rule at the time. “When I walked down the street, in stores, anything, the look I got was ‘what are you doing here’. I resisted because I come from a poor family, which had to do a lot to get settled, my parents were militants of the black front, so that strengthened me a lot.”
“Dealing with this type of discrimination and prejudice was something I was used to as a young black man, so the issue of disability was an impact that added to that, but which I had already developed strategies to deal with.”
In 1994, the mediation of AME (Associação Amigos Metroviários dos Excepcionais), an organization that aims at the social inclusion of people with disabilities, allowed Pellegrini to become the first user of supported employment in Brazil.
He had the consultancy of Romeu Sassaki, an important name in the inclusion movement, who brought the methodology to the country. Pellegrini says that the professional prepared the environment and the team, with training and consultancy that were treated as an experience for his professional rehabilitation.
“During this period, I was evaluated and the methodology was sophisticated. Finding difficulties, Romeu offered alternatives and adjustments, and in fact he structured and supported the whole process, only leaving after it was concluded.”
Pellegrini reports that the initial phase was the most complicated: “At first it was very tense to be there, so this support from Romeu was very important, because he was fishing for the things that are not said, that are suffered and are not said. “
Adaptations also involved changes in their activities, often in the field. “I didn’t have the slightest condition to be circulating on site, in a factory environment, so this task was compensated with other tasks”, he explains.
In addition, the company made it possible for him to work partially remotely so that he could meet his clinical needs. “I wouldn’t have gone back to work if it weren’t for this methodology. Without the company offering conditions, without being able to be there part-time in person to do physiotherapy”, he reports.
Pellegrini took on other roles at Metrô, helping with inclusive processes for employees and passengers in the company’s day-to-day activities. Eventually, he took on public office, such as that of National Secretary for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Today, he works in the coordination of mobility at the State Secretariat for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
“For me, the main result of supported employment, it makes me emotional to remember that, is that the children I wanted to raise, one is an electrical engineer at the polytechnic here at USP and the other at UFSCar. So they got to that point because my work it was important, to have my career back”, he concludes.