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Inclusive Employment for People with Disabilities

Handicap International (HI) helps people with disabilities find work in the Dakar region. Through personalised support, training and advocacy work with businesses, the organisation helps them successfully enter the world of work.

Thanks to Handicap International’s inclusive employment project, Ramatoulaye has worked as a cashier at Banque Atlantique since 2015.

Thanks to Handicap International’s inclusive employment project, Ramatoulaye has worked as a cashier at Banque Atlantique since 2015. | © E. Fitte-Duval / Handicap International

People with disabilities often find it very hard to find salaried employment. Workplaces are usually poorly adapted. Many do not have lifts and safety standards are sometimes poor. However, the biggest obstacle facing people with disabilities in the workplace is prejudice. Many employers are convinced that people with disabilities lack skills and are unable to bring anything to the company. Disability frightens people and companies prefer to keep people with disabilities at arm’s length.

Handicap International has been helping people with disabilities in the Dakar region find work since 2014. The organisation starts by providing them with personalised follow-up, including interviews with a social worker and an employment adviser. After a skills assessment, the organisation draws up an action plan with them, depending on their goals and needs. They are then given personalised support, which might include training, help applying for an internship, or awareness-raising for a potential employer.

Handicap International relies on a local network of more than 90 employers and a dozen organisations working in the field of employment and training. It helps partner businesses adapt premises to make them accessible to people with disabilities. They also raise the awareness of employees to ensure disabled employees are better included in the workplace. Lastly, it monitors the new employee to ensure that they are happy in their new job.

The Zena fruit processing plant near the port of Dakar, which employs over a hundred people, has already hired four people with hearing impairments who are monitored by Handicap International. Other people with disabilities are currently applying for work, and the plant’s employees have been provided with information on disability. What’s more, the management team is planning to make its new premises accessible to people with disabilities.

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Towards a mine-free Casamance
© J-J. Bernard / Handicap International

Towards a mine-free Casamance

The threat of anti-personnel mines still hangs over the people of Casamance despite an end to the conflict[1] in this region of Senegal. Handicap International has been running demining programmes since December 2015. After completing an initial operation in the village of Diagnon, the organisation is now clearing 20,000 square metres in Boutoute, on the outskirts of Ziguinchor, to free villagers from the danger of mines.

What should you do if you find a mine?
© J-J. Bernard / Handicap International

What should you do if you find a mine?

The conflict that tore Casamance apart for thirty years is now over. However, anti-personnel mines still pose a threat to civilian lives. Alongside its mine clearance operations, Handicap International is also working with its partner, the ASVM (Senegalese Association of Mine Victims), to inform and raise the population's awareness of the risks of mines. Over an eight-month period, awareness-raising sessions will be held in 60 schools and 65 villages. 

A woman deminer
© J-J. Bernard / Handicap International

A woman deminer

Thirty-one-year-old Fatou Diaw has found and destroyed over 50 mines in her impressive seven-year career. Equally at ease with probes, metal detectors and slashers, she knows demining back to front. Below she describes how her work became her passion.