Hire young people with disabilities
The plan that works.
By: Stanley Ssenyonjo, Program Manager, Cheshire Services Uganda
In Uganda, 14% of the population over the age of 5 are people living with disabilities. Disability is both a cause and a consequence of poverty. People with disabilities often face barriers that prevent them from being fully active in society. This includes access to education and employment. Young people with disabilities often find it difficult to find a job after training, as most employers perceive them to have lower productivity than other young people.
Suzan Akello is a Tororo World Food Program (WFP) inspector and single mother. She is one of the young people supported for access to gainful employment by the Cheshire services of Uganda in the district of Tororo.
“ After my studies, I stayed with my mother in the village. One day, one of the representatives of people living with disabilities (a community counselor) came to our house and told my mother that Cheshire Services Uganda was looking for young people living with disabilities who were unable to find a job. During the training that followed, we learned how to write a CV and look for a job. I used the skills thus acquired to write job applications, do job interviews and before long, I landed a position in the World Food Program. With this work, my dreams became reality. I am now able to take care of myself, send my daughter to school and save some money, ”says Susan.
Cheshire Services Uganda Receives Influence Grant. She has so far contacted 143 employers from different fields of work and trained them on legislation as well as employment policies integrating disability. It is a way of promoting the employment of young people with disabilities while encouraging the design of workplace policies that integrate disability and workplace programs. Through career fairs and in order to help them find a job, young people living with disabilities have also been trained to write competitive job applications and carry out interviews corresponding to the current job market. Thanks to job fairs and advice, their self-confidence and commitment to work have been strengthened. Cheshire Services of Uganda wanted to set an example by itself employing many young people with disabilities in its programs. The organization also has an employment agency, designed for the disabled, in which a volunteer works who supports young people living with a disability in finding a job, posting their CVs on the websites of employers, connecting with employers to be taken into account.
The World Food Program is one of the organizations that have partnered with the Cheshire Youth Employment Services of Uganda and, so far, has employed three young people living with disabilities. Ms Catherine Mupinda, the logistics hub manager at the World Food Program office in the Tororo district, shared her experience of working with people living with disabilities:
“ I myself grew up with people living with disabilities. Therefore, I have no prejudices against them. I don’t see the handicap, I see the person and their potential. I also learned a lot during workshops integrating disability organized by Cheshire services in Uganda ”.
The World Food Program has adapted its offices to people living with disabilities. First of all, these offices were made accessible and, now, the bathrooms are being upgraded to adapt them to people living with a handicap.