According to a mapping report on the employment of people with disabilities (2016), people with disabilities make up 12.4% of Uganda’s population. Although the Disabled People Act addresses the issue of access to physical structures and places the responsibility on employers to ensure that the premises used by a disabled worker do not put them at a disadvantage, people with special needs suffer from opportunities in the workplace – in the first place.
Lydia Abenaitwe says: “While other people only have to prove their skills to employers, we are [people with special needs] have to and try to prove what we can’t even prove because we are physically disabled and that is often seen as a limitation. “
This makes it even more difficult to find employment. She has been looking for a job with no results for almost three years. “Sometimes the employer just tells you I don’t think you can do it because the job takes a lot of exercise while others just scold you,” she says.
“For example, I applied for a job in 2006 and was employed. However, I was told to go to another office of the same company. When I got there, the store manager said, “I can’t believe you sent me someone like you!” They told me to go home and I would be called soon. They never called me back, ”says Abenaitwe.
In addition, the work environment can be so inadequate that people with disabilities simply stop.
Just like Abenaitwe, many other people with disabilities wear the same shoes. “I lost my father in 2008 when I was just finishing Senior Six in 2007. I couldn’t continue school and then started looking for a job, but to no avail, ”explains Bonny Okoda, a graduate in business administration.
“I once decided to join the Uganda prison service in 2010 because my father was a prison guard. I went to Lira Town for recruiting. The first was to check the documents, ”he says. He went on to the last level.
“When it came to the oral interview and my name was given, I sat in front of the interviewers. They started asking me questions but I couldn’t hear anything as I am deaf. You chased me away. I cried, ”says Okoda sadly.
After graduating from Uganda Christian University in Mbale last year, Okoda attempted to apply for a job but was never shortlisted. “I used the rearing of pigs to pay the school fees for my siblings,” he says.
Juliet Nalule says she found herself self-employed pretty quickly after realizing that it would be difficult to be busy.
“I have a degree in catering, but a lot of people can’t believe that I can stand or cook for a long time. For over two years I was looking for a job in various hotels and restaurants, but failed, ”she said. Nevertheless, she applied to work in Arab countries.
“After investing a fortune in a visa and tickets, I was put on a plane back to Uganda by the employment agency that picked me up because nobody wanted to hire a disabled person. I’ve opened my own restaurant and I’m self-employed, ”says Nalule.
Abenaitwe says employers should be more open to hiring people with special needs. “Don’t just look at a person’s physical incapacity and conclude that they are incompetent. Give us a chance before you turn us down. For example, put this person on probation, even if it is shorter than the normal probation period, and then assess the competence, ”she says
However, Fred Yakwaya, a Bachelor of Business Studies graduate from Kyambogo University, says, “Often times employers fear the added cost of hiring a sign language interpreter, but personally I can work without an interpreter,” he says, noting that other people assume that people with special needs come into their offices to beg for money.
“Last year I was hunted by a bank after the manager thought I was a beggar. She threw Shs1,000 at me and walked away. I’ve also found that I never call myself for interviews when applying for a job and suggesting that I have a disability. This has happened about ten times, ”says Yakwaya, adding that it was for this reason that he decided to open his own mini hardware store.
Laws and guidelines on PWDs
The Disabled People Act 2006, Section 13 (3), gives the Minister of Labor the power to set a quota or percentage of PWDs to be employed on the workforce for employers.
The Disabled People Act of 2006 provides for the elimination of all forms of discrimination against people with disabilities and equal opportunities.
The Workers’ Compensation Act of 2000 provides compensation for workers injured or disabled by work accidents
The Law of the National Council for the Disabled (No. 14) of 2003 monitors and evaluates the rights of persons with disabilities under international conventions and legal instruments, the Constitution and other laws.
The Law on Economy, Technology, Vocational Training (BTVET) No. 12 of 2008 promotes fair access to education and training for all disadvantaged groups, including disabled people.
The national policies of the Equal Opportunities Act 2006 and the Employment Act (No. 6) 2006 both prohibit discrimination against persons in employment on the basis of disability.
Source: Uganda Mapping Report on Employment of People with Disabilities (February 2016)
Although Uganda has a number of policies and laws promoting the employment of people with disabilities, implementation has been hampered due to unclear guidelines promoting positive action, quota systems and incentives for the employment of people with disabilities. It is therefore required that the guidelines be revised to address these shortcomings.
Despite various legal instruments and obligations, people with disabilities continue to face barriers to accessing jobs that are equal to others. People with disabilities are still viewed as incapable of work by many employers. In addition, the majority of people who are injured while working and who acquire a disability are fired from their jobs and, due to limited awareness and poor implementation, they cannot benefit from the provisions of the Law on Compensation, nor from being relocated The Law. Deborah Lyute, the program director; National Union of People with Disabilities in Uganda (NUDIPU)