Shut out of work for being disabled

Ugandan polio survivor Issa Gabriel struggled for employment before an intervention from the Cheshire Alliance

Ugandan polio survivor Issa Gabriel struggled for employment before an intervention from the Cheshire Alliance

The ongoing stigma that denies people the right to work will be highlighted as the world marks the United Nation’s international day of persons with disabilities on the 3rd of December.

The Cheshire Global Alliance, a network of 200 organisations supporting disabled persons in over 50 countries, has organised awareness-raising activities across the world. These will include an arts and trade showcase in in Adjumani, Uganda and a marathon in Bangalore, India.

The events will highlight abilities and skills, but also negative experiences such as those faced by Paul Kawere, an unemployed university graduate struggling in Uganda. Paul said: “Employers say ‘disabled persons are not efficient, they take a lot of time to finish a task.’ This is not true and in fact we can sometimes perform more efficiently than non-disabled persons.”

Aletheia Bligh Flower, the Global Alliance Secretariat Manager, says: “Some fifteen percent of the global population has a disability but the prejudice Paul has faced is felt on a daily basis in many parts of the world. They are often reduced to poverty through exclusion from education, training and employment.

“Moreover, people with disabilities have been found to be more likely to live in poverty and being exposed to illness, unsafe living and working conditions.”

The Cheshire Global Alliance calls for national governments to remove barriers to training and employment for persons with disabilities by demanding that workplaces are more accessible and ensuring discrimination is made illegal.

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