In Rwanda, a national policy to help ensure that persons with disabilities enjoy full inclusion in society and equal participation in Rwanda’s transformation agenda was adopted on May, 31 last year. The development couldn’t have come at a more appropriate time, given the numerous challenges people living with disabilities faced, the workplace in particular. Though diversity is referred to as a topmost importance by most companies, only a few truly consider people with disabilities. For different reasons, the workplace often overlooks them, yet hiring and supporting them in succeeding at work carries benefits for the company as well. According to understood.org, disability inclusion at work is about more than hiring people with disabilities. An inclusive workplace values all employees for their strengths. It offers employees with disabilities, whether visible or invisible, an equal opportunity to succeed, to be compensated fairly, and to advance. True inclusion is about embracing difference. Claudine Mukarusine, the in-charge of capacity building at the National Union of Disability Organisations of Rwanda, says that disability inclusion at work is difficult to understand due to several things. There are persons with disabilities that never had a chance to access education in their lives and sometimes it makes it so hard for them to get recruited, she says, adding that there are also those who had that chance but dropped out due to the stigma and lack of consideration from peers. “Those who studied and completed their studies are facing difficulties in getting recruited or even news of a place that needs employees and all that. These are the major things that make it difficult for people with disabilities to also be included in workplaces, managers and HRs and other members of the workplace don’t understand that they also are capable of working,” she says. Mukarusine adds that despite the government’s policy on inclusion, there is still a lack of guidelines on how inclusion works. “Even when these people are included in a workplace, they still need a lot of things like accessibility that make their working life easier and also, encouragement.” Alain Kamanzi who works as a human resource manager at ISON Rwanda says that the inclusion of disabled people in the workplace matters a lot because it builds an understanding of their capability. “We all know that disability is not inability, being disabled doesn’t mean that a person is not able to perform like regular employees. We strive as a country to not leave anyone behind for the country’s development,” he says. Kamanzi adds that skills are not determined by the condition of a person, they are determined by what a person can deliver and how they are good at delivering, and that is what recruiters should focus on. Aimee Munyaneza lives with disability. He says that getting a job after finishing school was very hard for him because people never trusted if he really had the skills they required. “Wherever I would go, the first question they would ask was, ‘are you sure you have the skills?’ And I would be required to send my CV and motivation letter but I would end up not being called or messaged. It happened a lot, at some point I wanted to give up, but I didn’t want to show people that disability is inability. I kept pushing and proved myself to be meriting a chance to also work. And now, I am working as an IT manager in a very good company that values my worth,” he says. Why does inclusion matter? “No one should be left behind or ignored in a society as the Rwandan constitution on human rights states it, and that is why the inclusion of people with disabilities matters a lot and everywhere. Adopting the inclusion of people with disabilities will also build a great mind-set for the generation to come, that disabled people have a place in society,” says Mukarusine. She adds that inclusion for people with disabilities also helps them live a better life and offer one to their families, yet it also helps society in understanding that people with disabilities are capable. According to understood, companies with strong disability inclusion programs have better access to talent and better employee retention. They have the tools they need to help their employees thrive. It increases employee motivation and reduces turnover rate Employees create a positive connection to the company’s business practices, they trust their place of employment and loyalty becomes a strong feeling among staff members. Strengthen your workforce Disability inclusion is a critical part of employee support. Inclusion builds morale and helps all employees do their best work. It can increase profit margin Individuals with disabilities stand to bring success, diversity, and increased motivation to the workplace.