Back on his path

Friday, March 21, 2014 - 9:45am

By Lesley Anne Squarey
 
Mani Borg went from creating culinary masterpieces in some of Halifax’s busiest hotels and restaurants to barely being able to cook for himself. 
 
After being an executive chef for 14 years, Borg suffered a severe stroke in 2010, leaving him with limited mobility and speech. The thought of returning to work seemed impossible. 
 
Borg underwent four years of rehabilitation treatment, leading him back to health and helping him regain his ability to cook. But before he could do that as a career, he needed some help getting back into the workforce.
 
That was where Capital Health Vocational Counselling and its community partner organizations, Team Work Cooperative and Workbridge, came in to keep Borg’s culinary dreams alive. 
 
“The support I’ve received from both organizations has been great,” said Borg. “They go beyond just trying to find you work. They help you through a difficult process and at the end of that process you are a different person. They help you find yourself again.”
 
Today, Borg is preparing to start a new job as a production chef at a local market at the end of the month.
 
Located at the Nova Scotia Rehabilitation Centre, vocational counselling receives referrals from across the province. Clients then connect with Brian Tapper, a Capital Health vocational counsellor who works with them to develop future career goals depending on a client’s physical restrictions and demands. 
 
“I’d like to think that employment can be the ultimate health outcome for our clients,” says Tapper.” It’s not everything, but it’s important. It’s important to help people reclaim their lives, and we can do that together.” 
 
Phil Ward, a job developer at Workbridge, says the healing process for clients is long and getting back to work is one of the final steps to a full recovery. 
 
“Capital Health, Workbridge and Team Work Cooperative want to create opportunities for our clients. We want them to feel confident and supported,” he said. “We want them to have a sense of fulfillment knowing that their lives have a direction.”
 
Borg says that learning to live with a disability is not just a physical and mental adjustment, but it is a shift in lifestyle. With the help of fantastic clinicians and the important vocational counseling team, his life after his stroke took on a new meaning.
 
“The whole process has been a wake up call. I can now say that I know my personal strengths and weaknesses better. I know my limitations and I see myself as a more centered and balanced person.”