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International Workers’ Day: Employment rights = disability rights!

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International Workers’ Day on May 1st is a day to celebrate working people around the world. It’s also a day to call for accessible workspaces and an inclusive economy.

Getting rid of barriers

A huge section of our working age population is being discriminated against when it comes to accessing jobs, business opportunities and livelihoods. 785 million people with disabilities worldwide are of working age – yet, 64% of them are unemployed, compared with just 40% of their peers without disabilities. In low-income countries, this figure is even higher.

The reasons for this injustice? Negative attitudes, inaccessibility, lack of education and job training opportunities, lack of personal assistance and workplace adjustments – to name just a few.

People with disabilities want to learn & earn. But so many barriers stand in their way. This makes no more economic sense than it does moral sense! People with disabilities are your customer base. Your board members. Your colleagues. Don’t miss out on that potential,” says Light for the World’s Disability Inclusion Adviser Ambrose Murangiura from Uganda.

Light for the World supports sustainable work opportunities for people with disabilities, and not only since the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak. With our partners we also make the case for fully inclusive social protection systems to support people, including children and older people with disabilities, in times of need.

Disability inclusion facilitators with Ambrose Murangira
Ambrose Murangira, to the right in a yellow shirt, with a group of Disability Inclusion Facilitators in Gulu, Uganda.

Inclusive employment and business works!

With our Inclusive Futures partners, Light for the World ensures inclusive vocational training and employment in Bangladesh. We link micro-entrepreneurs with disabilities to businesses in Kenya. We create viable work opportunities, including in the coffee value chain in Nepal

In Mozambique, we teamed up with the training institute Young Africa and created disability-inclusive vocational training courses.

In Uganda, our Make 12.4% Work flagship programme opens employment and business opportunities for people with disabilities and connects specially trained Disability Inclusion Facilitators with businesses in need of inclusion advice.

The costs of including people with disabilities are far outweighed by the long-term financial benefits to individuals, families and society.[1]

Let’s celebrate these success stories and all the creative changemakers who show that workers’ rights equal disability rights. Let’s build workspaces and economies open to everyone.

[1] CBM, Inclusion Made Easy: A quick program guide to disability in development, CBM, Bensheim, 2012, pp. 10. Cited from UNICEF 2021

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