People with disabilities in Senegal often find it very hard to find salaried employment. Workplaces are usually poorly adapted. Many do not have lifts and safety standards are sometimes poor.
However, the biggest obstacle facing people with disabilities in the workplace is prejudice. Many employers are convinced that people with disabilities lack skills and are unable to bring anything to the company. Disability frightens people and companies prefer to keep people with disabilities at arm’s length.
Handicap International has been helping people with disabilities in the Dakar region find work since 2014. The organisation starts by providing them with personalised follow-up, including interviews with a social worker and an employment adviser. After a skills assessment, the organisation draws up an action plan with them, depending on their goals and needs. They are then given personalised support, which might include training, help applying for an internship, or awareness-raising for a potential employer.
Handicap International relies on a local network of more than 90 employers and a dozen organisations working in the field of employment and training. We help partner businesses adapt premises to make them accessible to people with disabilities. We also raise the awareness of employees to ensure disabled employees are better included in the workplace. Lastly, we monitor the new employee to ensure that they are happy in their new job.
The Zena fruit processing plant near the port of Dakar, which employs over a hundred people, has already hired four people with hearing impairments whose progress is monitored by Handicap International. Other people with disabilities are currently applying for work, and the plant’s employees have been provided with information on disability. What’s more, the management team is planning to make its new premises accessible to people with disabilities.