DRPI is collecting CVs from the potential job seekers to connect them with the appropriate job matching their skills.
“We have received more than 200 CVs so far. FBCCI and DCCI are working with us to employ persons with disabilities,” Ferdousi Begum, Bangladesh Country Coordinator of DRPI, said at a press briefing on Sunday.
The Canadian government and York University are also providing support to the new initiative.
York University Professor Dr Marcia Rioux, who helped write the UN Convention on the Rights of the Persons with Disabilities, emphasised that this is not a charity model. “This is aimed at inclusion of the 15 percent population of the society who are excluded”.
“The cost of exclusion of persons with disabilities is very high,” she said. Bangladesh is losing approximately $891 million a year, she said, citing ILO statistics and a UN estimates that 15 percent of the total population have some form of disability.
Founder and Managing Director of Bangladesh Protibandhi Kallyan Somity Abdus Sattar does not consider it a charity effort either. “We are thinking this in a more advanced way. We think I am a citizen of this country. I pay taxes, VAT, so I have the rights”.
Bangladesh has ratified the UN convention on the rights of the persons with disabilities in 2008.
The government also has a 10 percent quota for persons with disabilities. But campaigners say that qualified candidates can miss their chance due to the information gap.
DRPI’s job matching
DRPI is an international organisation working to ensure the rights of persons with disabilities.
Their AWARE project, implemented in collaboration with York University of Canada and Global Affairs of Canada is focused on ensuring jobs for persons with disabilities.
“Part of our job is to interview job seekers thoroughly after receiving their CVs,” Ferdousi Begum said.
“We extract their personality, skills and all the hidden skills they have. So, we can understand how they will fit in an environment and where he/ she can do better as a worker or employee,” she explained.
“We assess the jobs that are available. These jobs are neither exclusively available for persons with disabilities nor they are unwanted or unproductive job just to engage them for show.
“These are real job that we assess and we recommend responsibly a skilled and well-matched person with disabilities for the job”.
She said they understand that “businesses are not in business to employ a person with disability, rather they are in business to make profit”.
“We, as AWARE project officers, caters to their motto and try our best to place a right candidate so that the company can get an exemplary employee by employing a person with disabilities,” she said.
“It is a hard job, but we are continuing to do it,” she said. The organisation is using the model in Canada, India and Nepal, to some success.
“There is social prejudice, common myths around people with disabilities in Bangladesh. Every year several thousand people become disable in some way and they usually become a national liability. Around 15 percent of our population is disabled according to UN estimates”.
“We cannot even dream to achieve our national development goals without an improvement of this 15 percent statistic”.
She said after the Nepal earthquake, thousands of people who had normal jobs become disabled. “It does not mean that they lost their skills and employability. They can still contribute in many ways and that is also true for Bangladesh”.
Well Group, WEGA Group, and Azad Group in Bangladesh have already requested the DIRPA to place candidates for suitable jobs at their offices and factories.
“We are also working with the ILO and Bangladesh Business and Disability Network to make way to Honour the businesses who has inclusive approach at their workplaces,” the country coordinator said.
They are also working with the government’s Access to Information or A2I and other stakeholders to make the initiative “more efficient”.