Social and economic inclusion of persons with disabilities
Based on the figures provided by Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, Martyrs and Disabled (MoLSAMD) over 1.8 million eligible workers are unemployed in Afghanistan and the rate of unemployment increased to 40 percent in 2015 from 25 percent in 2014 (www.rawa.org, Ret 1 Feb 2017).
Considering the facts, persons with disabilities unemployment rate should be double. The unemployment rate is lower for persons with disabilities than for non-disabled in many countries, as is the case in Afghanistan. The difference of level of employment between the two groups is statistically significant. Lack of employment is a major barrier to person autonomy and financial independence, especially for persons with disabilities who are at high risk of lifetime dependency on others (NDSA 2005).
Livelihood has been one of the key thematic areas of ALSO program to empower persons with disabilities economically by implementation of different livelihood projects because persons with disabilities have less access to livelihood opportunities and have less livelihood skills, which leads to unemployment and more dependency on other at family. The livelihood interventions will create opportunities for persons with disabilities to develop their employability skills and competencies to participate in the community. The livelihood inventions of ALSO include tailoring, embroidery, bead-weaving, computer courses, cooking, bicycle repair and referral to employment opportunities.
Access to education is the basic human rights of any person. However, persons with disabilities have much more less access to education in comparison with persons without disabilities in Afghan society. More than 72% of children with disabilities did not have access to education while the access of children without disabilities was 53%, which shows 33% difference between children with and without disabilities (NDSA 2005). Considering the needs and challenges of persons with disabilities in accessing to education, ALSO has been providing educational program for persons with disabilities, which include literacy/numeracy, inclusion of persons with disabilities in public schools and universities, mathematics, Braille, Jaws Software for person with visual disabilities, Internet, computer courses, English language, paintings and cultural activities. The objective education program is to create opportunities for persons with disabilities to have more access to formal and non-formal education opportunities to develop their abilities.
Sports and Leisure
Persons with disabilities need to have access to sports and leisure services in the community, but fewer opportunities are available for them in the community in sports and leisure activities. ALSO established Table Tennis, Chess, Volleyball, Football, Swimming Teams and Song Group from persons with and without disabilities in the community. The main objective is to improve physical, psychological and social participation of male and female with disabilities in the community through sports and leisure activities. These teams participated in different sports and leisure events to develop inclusion of persons with disabilities in society.
ALSO will continue its livelihood, education, physical accessibility, peer support, sports and leisure programs for persons with disabilities towards inclusion in Afghan society in partnership with our donors, networks and committees in the future at national and international levels.
Mr. Rahmat Gul ran into a landmine explosion in Ghazni province in 2008. He was taken to Emergency Hospital in Kabul. He gained consciousness after the incidence at hospital; he noticed that he had lost both his hands and legs, which made him very sad and disappointed. He was even going to commit suicide because he had no hope for life anymore. ALSO’s peer support started providing peer counseling to bring him out of the trauma and hopelessness. After some counseling sessions, he got hopeful to life and changed his mind for new future. He was referred to livelihood program of ALSO where he managed to get property dealing license from government to start his business and he was also referred to ICRC to get prosthesis in Kabul. He started his business with a satisfactory income to support his family. For four years he was successful managing his business. It is for more than four years, he is managing his life properly. As he said, “We have to fight to overcome challenges and barriers”.