“I need to show a good example and reassure the company that it’s on the right track”
Aminatou sent out application after application. But despite holding a vocational training certificate in accountancy, she found it hard to find a job because of her physical disability. For nearly ten years, she worked as a sales assistant in her local neighbourhood while giving up her time to help disabled people’s organisations.
Aminatou, an employee at Dakar Dem Dikk thanks to the EMPHAS project | © HI
In 2016, with support from HI, Aminatou applied for a job with Dakar Dem Dikk (DDD), the company that operates the bus network in the Senegal capital, and which had already worked with the organisation to promote the recruitment of people with disabilities. “My colleagues made it easier for me when I started at DDD. They’re really understanding. The project team helped too, because they prepared for my arrival. All the same, DDD offered us training before we started, which helped us understand our job and gave us the tools to do it.”
But Aminatou still needs to adapt to the pace of life at work, which is new to her:
“The only hard part is having sit for long hours on the road in the conductor’s cabin. I think it’s just because it’s the start and I’ll get used to the pace soon. I’m among the first people with disabilities recruited by DDD, so I need to show a good example and reassure the company that it’s on the right track.”
HI and inclusive employment in Senegal:
Since 2014, HI has promoted the inclusive employment of people with disabilities through the EMPHAS project. The organisation starts by arranging an interview with a social worker and a recruitment advisor for the person with disabilities. After a skills assessment, it then draws up an action plan with the person in question, based on their aspirations and needs, to ensure they receive tailored assistance, which includes training, internships and awareness-raising for potential employers.
HI works with a local network of more than 90 employers and around a dozen bodies active in the field of employment and training. The organisation helps partner businesses adapt the workplace to make it accessible to people with disabilities. It also raises the awareness of other staff members to better integrate disabled employees. Lastly, it monitors people who have found employment through its programme to ensure that everything is going well in their new work environment.
 EMPHAS: Employment for People with Disabilities in Senegal