Labour market still shunning persons with disabilities The government in 2021 launched the National Disability Policy which stipulates that employers must ensure that 15 percent of their workforce is reserved for persons with disabilities.

Despite efforts by the government towards inclusivity, persons with  disabilities in Zimbabwe still face challenges getting employed in both  the public and private sectors, an official has said.

The government in 2021 launched the National Disability Policy which stipulates that employers must ensure that 15 percent of their workforce is reserved for persons with disabilities.

 In an interview with New Ziana last week, Nicholas Nicodimus, the project officer responsible for economic empowerment for Sightsavers, an international organisation which supports visually impaired persons, said since they cannot access jobs, people with disabilities also have low confidence in starting their own enterprises due to internalised stigma, discrimination and negative experiences.

“This is because there is a general lack of awareness amongst employers on how to accommodate persons with disabilities in the workplace, coupled with the perceived high expenses associated with recruiting persons with disabilities,” he said.

“Most financial institutions perceive a person with a disability as high risk and impose harmful collateral requirements which limit the accessibility of financial services products to people with disabilities.”

Nicodimus said the situation is worsened by families who are not comfortable to allow their members with disabilities to participate in employment and business due to stigma and lack of confidence in them.

 He however said only the government seemed to be walking the talk of “not leaving anyone behind” through the disability inclusivity agenda.

 “The government is encouraging people with disabilities to register for employment with the Ministry of Public Service. We applaud the government for making deliberate efforts to employ as many people with disabilities when opportunities are available,” he said.

 According to the Rapid Labour Market assessment study published in 2022, persons with disabilities are always the most affected by declining employment levels because they are usually considered last by employers.

 National Disability Affairs director in the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, Dr Christine Peta said to cushion persons with disabilities from unemployment, the government is now economically empowering persons with disabilities.

“We have a Disability Fund which is funded from the Treasury every year for economic empowerment of persons with disabilities. They get an equivalent of US$3 000 for a group of persons who come together to do a project and they do not have to repay the money,” she said.— New Ziana.

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