From employment to social inclusion
Dialogue about employment opportunities for people with disabilities held to promote social inclusion of people with disabilities
Representatives of ministries and governmental agencies, nongovernmental organizations, and international and local companies have discussed policy making and employment opportunities for people with disabilities in the Consultation Meeting and Forum devoted to the International Day of People with Disabilities. The theme of this year’s observance is “Theme: “Break Barriers, Open Doors: for an inclusive society and development for all”.
Social inclusion and integration of people with disabilities into the society lies in the core of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Labor rehabilitation for people with disabilities is one of indispensable conditions of their full inclusion in society life. Development and implementation of disability-oriented policy and laws guarantee and ensure the right for work for people with disabilities and their enjoyment of life. Commenting on issues related to the inclusion of persons with disabilities in development, both as beneficiaries and agents, Cao Lin, Deputy Resident Representative of UNDP Turkmenistan stated, “…, many persons with disabilities are declared inactive, …because often disability is seen as inability to work. However, we can acknowledge that we all have abilities, but some are just more apparent than others.”
Chary Ovezov, the Chairperson of the Deaf and Blind Society of Turkmenistan, noted that jobs provision for people with disabilities requires funds, efforts for accessible and specially equipped working spaces, organization of working processes, etc. “The government is a key player in integration of persons with disabilities into the socio-economic processes, which benefits the entire community and creates more opportunities for both persons with or without disabilities”, he said.
The participants considered various models and best practices of promoting employment of people with disabilities. According to the recommendations from the National Consultant Bairamklych Urazov, they may vary from creating a disability committee or commission to introducing job quotas for people with disabilities and upgrading facilities of the Deaf and Blind Society of Turkmenistan to create more job places. The French construction company Bouygues, representing the business community in Turkmenistan, presented its diversity strategy with disability oriented approach and shared its experience in hiring people with disabilities.
International consultant Janina Arsenjeva presented the experience of developed countries that are implementing disability policies and ensuring jobs for people with disabilities through different strategies and programs. A model of the disability strategy should envision legislation, inclusive education, accessible services and environment, social protection, reasonable accommodation, governmental procurement with preferences for organizations which employ people with disabilities.
In order to make the regulatory mechanisms and process of employment of people with disabilities effective it is necessary to consider interests of each participant of that process – people with disabilities, governmental agencies, and the private sector. It is necessary to work on overcoming stereotypes that people with disabilities are not capable and educate pubic and stakeholders that accessible environment and reasonable accommodation might eliminate barriers and ensure participation of people with disabilities in society.
Ms. Irina Dedova