THE FORGOTTEN

Hire disabled people who can work at home

Coronavirus gives the lie to employers' excuses.

In Summary
  • Disabled people endure lockdown scenarios every single day
  • They are socially distanced by narratives that it's a curse that made them have a disability.
Persons living with disability meet at a past meeting
INCLUSION: Persons living with disability meet at a past meeting
Image: FILE

In the wake of the coronavirus, Covid-19, the resilience of development frameworks in the advent of social unforeseen challenges is always put on the test. And in many instances, executing a development framework only when it's needed prior to continuous testing in the past increases the chances of negative results.

So I believe that if our societies would embrace the culture of social innovativeness by testing solutions to problems that are not there, then our chances of being competitive societies in case of unforeseen calamities would increase. One way of testing our ideas to unknown problems is by working with minority groups of vulnerable people in society like those who have severe disabilities since they experience problems that are unknown to the larger populations.

For instance, people with disabilities have always been denied employment on the basis that it is annoying to other colleagues to work alongside disabled staff. Or in many cases, employers have generally denied taking in qualified disabled job applicants because there is a feeling that its expensive to fix office and work structures to accommodate workers with disabilities.

Such excuses within the employment sector have remained to be the only reason as to why highly competent people with disabilities are not being fairly employed. Sometimes, you are forced to think that these excuses are impossible to overcome but not in the wake of Covid-19 since we have witnessed drastic employment accommodations on massive scales within a week or so.

 
 

This has been seen in the way different development stakeholders like government, civil and private space have reinforced the idea of their staff working at home as a social distancing measure to avoid the spread of the coronavirus. Such a work reinforcement directive is proving to work well as many staff are adjusting their schedules to accommodate work-at-home requirements.  It's only where necessary that some workers are required to physically report to work under strict Covid-19 prevention protocols.

Many employers avoid employing people with severe disabilities because they feel that they are a burden to the rest of the workforce or too expensive to accommodate when we know some of the accommodations that workers with severe disabilities do ask is just to work from home!

Telecommunication companies and even banks have resorted to waiving cashless transaction fees with the intention to literally reduce money from exchanging hands. On the other hand, entertainment joints, social gathering venues like churches and bars have either been closed or put under curfew. International travel has been restricted, especially from at-risk countries. All these efforts are meant to reinforce social distancing, which is key to the reduction of spreading the coronavirus.

How the world has rapidly responded to address the further spreading of Covid-19 in my view has shown the undying spirit of human resilience to fight back. But at the same time, posed the challenge to every human being to imagine the life of people who are completely vulnerable in society in the absence of Covid-19 and they continuously lack the social support to enjoy the benefits of life like employment, food, shelter, medication among other needs on a daily basis simply because nothing is being done enough to support them the same way different stakeholders are offering support during the coronavirus pandemic.

Think about people who have severe disabilities with no kind of social support from government or other stakeholders to secure their employment, receive specialised treatment or in-kind financial support to cushion their livelihood? Vulnerable people with severe disabilities are not receiving any support and remain on lockdown every day.

They are socially distanced by narratives that it's a curse that made them have a disability. And many employers avoid employing people with severe disabilities because they feel that they are a burden to the rest of the workforce or too expensive to accommodate when we know some of the accommodations that workers with severe disabilities do ask is just to work from home!

Perhaps as you strive to make it during this coronavirus pandemic, which I hope will come to an end soon, I want to challenge you to think about the vulnerable populations who have always been going through the same hardship scenarios like the corona ones all the days of their lives with no commitment from any development stakeholders.