Employing Youth with Disability
The plan that is working.
By: Stanley Ssenyonjo, Programme Officer, Cheshire Services Uganda
In Uganda, 14% of the population above 5 years are persons with disabilities. Disability is both a cause and consequence of poverty. People with disability often face significant barriers that prevent them from participating fully in society. This includes getting education and employment. Youth with disabilities often struggle to find employment after their training because most employers perceive them to have less productivity in comparison to other youths.
Suzan Akello is a tally clerk at the world food program (WFP) Tororo and a single mother. She is one of the youths being supported to access gainful employment by Cheshire services Uganda in Tororo District.
“After my studies, I started staying with my mother in the village. One day, one of the representatives of persons with disabilities (a community councillor) came home and told my mother that Cheshire Services Uganda was looking for youth with disabilities who were unable to get jobs. During the subsequent training, we were taught how to write CVs and to look for jobs. I utilised my acquired skills in writing applications, undertaking job interviews and before long, I got a job at the World Food Program. The job is making my dreams come true; I am now able to look after myself, send my daughter to school and save some money” Susan Narrates
Cheshire services Uganda is an influencing grantee that has so far reached out to 143 employers from different fields of work and trained them on disability-inclusive employment policies and legislation. This is as a way of promoting employment of youth with disabilities as well and to encourage the design of disability-inclusive workplace policies and programmes in workplaces. Youths with disabilities have also been taught through career fares to search for jobs, write competitive applications and undertake interviews to match with the current job market. Through job fairs and counselling, their confidence and commitment to work have been enhanced. Cheshire Services Uganda has led by example, now employing many of the youth with disabilities in their programme. The organisation also has a disability employment bureau with a volunteer who supports the youth with disabilities in job search, uploading their CVs on employers’ websites and linking them up to employers for consideration.
World Food Program is one of the organisations that have partnered with Cheshire services Uganda to employ the youths and so far, they have employed three youths with disabilities. Ms Catherine Mupinda, the logistics hub manager at the World Food Program office in Tororo District shared her experience working with persons with disabilities;
“I grew up with persons with disabilities therefore my attitude towards them is not biased. I do not see the disability, I see the person and their potential. I have also learnt a lot from the disability-inclusive workshops organised by Cheshire services Uganda”
World Food Program has made its offices’ disability-friendly. First, the warehouse was made accessible and now the bathrooms are being upgraded to make them disability-friendly.