There is need to establish contacts with the private sector to help people with disabilities to become entrepreneurs and equip them with skills to be able to create over 2,000 off-farm jobs before 2020, officials and activists have said.
The call was made during the launch of an ICT centre for persons with disabilities in Kicukiro District and the disability week on Monday.
According to Alvera Mukabaramba, the State Minister for Social Affairs, to achieve this there is need for intervention from different stakeholders, mainly the private sector.
Reports, she said, show that over 40 per cent of disabled people in the working age bracket have no jobs.
“We will continue to support associations and cooperatives of persons with disabilities, and help them create jobs. We will also extend public works to them and mobilise both private and public institutions to be inclusive when availing job opportunities,” she said.
The efforts are designed to ensure decent work and curb unemployment for people with disabilities, especially the youth.
“We want to see private sector companies committing to create jobs for people with disabilities.
“We also have programmes such as the national employment programme that continues to help create new jobs. For instance, every year we channel Rwf80 million through Business Development Fund (BDF) in all districts to finance business ideas of people with disabilities even though the money reduced from Rwf200 million per year,” he said.
“We need to leverage different sources of job creation, we need digital jobs for disabled people. That is why we have launched an ICT training centre for them. Today, there is one in each province but we need to establish it in every district. One ICT centre costs Rwf40 million to set up,” she noted.
According to Jonathan Porter, the Managing Director of Masaka Creamery, the firm employs 31 workers of whom 20 are visually impaired and are mute.
“These workers are below 30 years of age. They are capable of working. We need collaborative efforts to create jobs for such people. We need to overcome the poor mind-set that they are unable. We don’t have to decide their inability before we test them,” he said.
He added that there was need for creating contacts and know which private companies are committed and willing to extend such employment opportunities to PWDs but also encourage disabled entrepreneurs.
Jules Ntabwoba, in charge of communication at Rwanda Online, said that Irembo services have also provided jobs to people with disabilities.
Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority (RURA) as the main sponsor of this project, through it's Universal access and service Division provided equipment worthy around 200 million Rwanda Francs and contributed to the establishment of these ICT training centers in all provinces of Rwanda to facilitate persons with disabilities increase their ICT skills.