09/24/2015 08:57 am ET Updated Sep 24, 2015

Woman Who Can’t Read Finds Success In Job Shredding Confidential Documents

Emma's business has four clients.

This woman's business is tearing it up. 

Emma Lynam, a 21-year-old from Australia, was born with Down syndrome and also has autism, hearing loss and a cleft palate. While she can't read or write, she runs her own business called "Master Shredder," shredding paper for clients. The business, which was started with the help of her mother, Jo, has allowed the 21-year-old to lead a more independent life.

Emma's practical business is the subject of "Emma: Master Shredder," a video from "ABC Open," a program from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

"I just cannot speak enough about how gratifying as a mom that is to see my daughter want to get up and go to work and feel fulfilled that she's doing something," Jo said in the video. "She's helping and making a difference in her own life -- making her way like any other 21-year-old."

The 21-year-old has four clients, including solicitors and a credit union, "ABC Open" reported. Because Emma cannot read or write, Steve Scholefield of the credit union said in the video that she actually makes the perfect person for the job, as she shreds confidential documents. 

The idea behind Master Shredder came from Jo's wish for Emma to live a life with more freedom and become a member of her community.  

"What I strive for is for Emma to ... stand on her own two feet and earn her own living," the mother said in the video. 

She knew that Emma loved to shred paper, so Jo began reaching out to businesses in hopes someone would hire her daughter with the skill in mind. Scholefield was the only person who responded. 

"Her enthusiasm with shredding and the fact that she couldn't read made her the perfect candidate for something that we also had a need for, which is for someone to do our shredding," Scholefield said.

He added that it's worked well.

"It was amazing how little effort we needed ... to be able to have such a great outcome for Emma and her family and her organization."


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