In my search for special topics for Topic Regiomagazine, I obviously encounter many special people. People with special hobbies, passions, work, but also individual people who are themselves special. That’s how I met Nadia van den Heuvel, a special lady; and the first things that made me curious were her enthusiasm and cheerfulness. In the conversation I had with her, it turned out that, aside from enthusiastic, Nadia could certainly be called special as well. She runs her own business in Boxmeer.
Nadia, born and raised in Schijndel, has a physical disability: she has congenital spastic tetraplegia. That means she has trouble walking, and often moves around in a wheelchair. From childhood onwards, Nadia knew very well what she’d like to achieve: leading a normal life, pursuing a career, and mean something for others. Not packing boxes of chewing gum (with all due respect), nor being dependent on the municipality. On the contrary, she wanted to show that people with an impairment can function well in everyday society too. And she succeeded. Through her education and several jobs, she worked her way up to a senior position at the Public Prosecution Service. But Nadia wanted to do more, really being there for fellow humans; last year, she set up her own company: Ictoria.
“I was lucky to meet the right people, says Nadia. Through Hugo Hillenaar, indeed the brother of and director of the criminal law chain at the Ministry of Justice and Security, I ended up at the Public Prosecution Service (OM). Despite my standing and walking limitations, I was given the opportunity to develop and build a great career. I would like to share this experience with others. With Ictoria, I can do just that. From my own experience, I offer a stage to IT–talented people with impairments, who do not come into their own elsewhere. A dream has come true. A disability can also be a gift. I want to help people and their qualities come into their own. It is really super nice to see that people become much more confident as a result. We‘ve got a drawer full of CVs, and we like to match companies with IT professionals. We also offer candidates a training opportunity in the ‘Ictoria Academy’. We also work with municipalities to get people with a ‘labour market disadvantage‘ back to work. Very nice work, connecting people and helping people, it makes me happy every day.”
Besides making a career in ICT, Nadia van den Heuvel also made a career in wheelchair dancing. “Yes, again that has to do with perseverance,” she says. “If I do something, I really want to go for it, it worked out and we were among the top three in the world. We travelled a lot, saw a lot. I also travelled all over the world as ambassador of the Princess Beatrix Fund, a very fun time that brought me a lot. But I have to say, I am happy that I can now connect and be ready for my fellow humans every day in Boxmeer, because I get a lot of satisfaction from that!
Read the original article on the website of Topic Regiomagazine.