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‘Youth with disabilities have been perceived wrongly by the employers’- FEDOMA

By Steve Beloved Kaunga

Youth with Disabilities Network-YDN a branch of Federation of Disability Organizations in Malawi(FEDOMA) says negative attitudes about disability and discrimination on the basis of disability are the most prevalent and primary obstacles to the successful employment of young people with disabilities in Malawi

President of Youth with Disabilities Network Hermes Tebulo said this on Monday August 31, 2015 at Mount Soche Hotel in Blantyre during the Inclusive Training and Employment in Malawi workshop with members from media fraternity, ministry of labour, Employers Consultative Association of Malawi (ECAM) and the youth from various Disability Peoples Organizations (DPOs).

“While inequities in educational and skill development resources can impact their competitiveness in the labour market, negative perceptions of youth with disabilities and misconceptions held by employers, for example, that they are less productive than their peers, require too much assistance, affect the employer's image, and/or concerns over initial hiring costs that pose a formidable barrier to youth with disabilities looking for employment,” said Tebulo.

He commended government for the various efforts that are being undertaken in the country towards imparting skills to persons with disabilities. However, he also noted that there still inequities in educational and skill development that are a key to impact their competitiveness in the labour market.

On gender-employment disparities Tebulo said, young women with disabilities faces more discrimination that makes the situation to even get worse as they have to counter disability and gender based societal prejudices. He added that women with disabilities have lower employment rates than men with disabilities and women without disabilities.

He said, “Even with a good education, young women with disabilities take a longer time to find a job. These negative perceptions do not correspond with studies that show that persons with disabilities are just as productive, dependable, and less absent from work than workers without disabilities, and it is important to educate and raise awareness of employers to not have low expectations of persons with disabilities.”

He therefore called upon all the stakeholders to curb all sorts of discrimination and total exclusion in the country that will help persons with disabilities appreciate their rights being respected or recognized by all.

In his remarks, the Executive Director of Employers Consultative Association of Malawi (ECAM) Beyani Munthali said his organization will work hand in hand with FEDOMA to ensure the effective inclusion of persons with disabilities in job industry.

“We will be lobbying for the inclusive working conditions to all people including persons with disabilities in the country,” said Munthali.

It has been the work of FEDOMA and its affiliated Disability Persons Organizations DPOs preaching for inclusion in job industry as it is highlighted in the 2006 United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) Article 27: (b) which says ‘Protect the rights of persons with disabilities, on an equal basis with others, to just and favorable conditions of work, including equal opportunities and equal remuneration for work of equal value, safe and healthy working conditions, including protection from harassment, and the redress of grievances.’

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