When persons with disability rejoin or start to navigate their way into the world of work, they usually must confront numerous hurdles in a battle of opportunity despite the fact it is their right, as everyone else's, to secure decent work.
By Kenyan law, work is distinguished as a basic requirement and right for persons with disabilities. Productive and decent work enables persons with disabilities to realize their aspirations, improve their living conditions and participate more actively in society.
Cases of having a disability vary - some people have a disability from a young age and some experience unforeseen life-changing circumstances that present as a new challenge to navigate in life. In a recently published situational analysis by the Institute of Development Studies, available evidence suggests that persons with disabilities struggle to find employment, especially paid work. Adults who desire to find work after disability need support from all work environments.They need them to offer more inclusive and considerate opportunities.
Similarly, they need to take the necessary steps toward securing employment in various ways as listed below:
As a first step, finding employment after disability will require a period of physical, emotional, and psychological adjustment.
An unforeseen challenge of this nature requires individuals to take time to adjust to their new normal. It is likely that the process of rejoining the workforce will have been put on hold or feel too overwhelming. It is a normal, acceptable, and very holistic approach to prioritize one’s health and wellness.
Often, the first step to adapting to change will be to secure one’s personal emotions well enough to have a mindset where one can envision a valuable life that is full of meaning.
Assessing personal abilities and skills
Abilities and skills can be determined by considering previous jobs and interests. Many employers look at the demands of previous work and compare them to their requirements and needs in a worker. Making a list of previous jobs will highlight abilities and skills that may be relevant to the recruitment team.
Use channels for persons with disabilities
Securing a job while having a disability is a challenging process, but the benefits of work and maintaining a community of work have positive outcomes. Leveraging inclusive opportunity channels increases the outcomes of employment. Specifically, recruiting agencies, inclusivity firms, and hiring personnel can help recruit persons with disability and help them gain access to work.
An example of such a partner is the National Council for Persons With Disabilities (NCPWD, Kenya) that works to promote and protect equalization of opportunities and realization of human rights for persons with disabilities to live decent livelihoods. Their career portal serves as a digital platform created to support people living with disabilities in their efforts to grow their careers through various forms of support and relevant training.
Additionally, persons with disabilities can assess the EnableMe Community Platform to find job opportunities that they are qualified for and engage to learn useful information.
Take care of your mental health and be aware of possible discrimination
Having faced the challenge and successfully gained employment, persons with disabilities will still be required to navigate a new environment; one in which most workers may not easily relate and understand what it’s like to have a disability. The government requires that hiring firms have inclusive policies to accommodate persons with disability in Kenya. Most workspaces that do not adhere to company policies regarding inclusion are likely to display various forms of discrimination towards persons with disabilities.
It is necessary for all workers, especially in the case of discrimination to be fully aware of the policies that govern their workspaces and protect them from the various forms of discrimination. Persons with disabilities need to pursue their aspirations just as anyone else. It is their human right to do so, and they should remember to take care of their health holistically, especially their mental health and contributing social factors that may challenge their ability to work.
We should all have a healthy and positive approach that the human spirit is one of ability, perseverance, and courage that no disability can take away. Persons with disabilities have this same spirit, if not more, for courageously living life fully with optimism for a better future.