Although most jobs can be filled by people who have disabilities, their participation and integration into the labour market, particularly the formal market has not been very encouraging.
Government’s passage of persons with Disability Act in 2006 was meant to comprehensively to address their participation in socioeconomic activities, but significant changes have not yet been made.
Factors such as low level of education, and absence of a legislative instrument to operationalize some of the provisions in the Disability Act were also identified as limiting persons with disabilities’ participation in the labour market.
But some persons living with disabilities still find it difficult to get a job.
One person is 29-year old Muntari Abubakar.
He wasn’t born with disability but for fate and what initially seemed unknown to medical doctors, he now lives in a wheelchair.
In August 2007, Muntari reported attending school and becoming ill. The next day, he went to hospital for injections, but the backache never went away.
“I complained of the back pain and was unable to walk again,”
That was how Muntari had his disability. That was the turning point for him.
29-year old didn’t acquire his disability as a result of vehicle accident. It was one day sickness that paralysed him.
“Disability is everyone’s portion and therefore can befall anyone”, he says.
By visiting the hospital on several occasions with the hope life will return to normal, he did not see the light of the day.
His family did x-ray among other examination but doctors couldn’t diagnose his condition.
In late 2015, he went back to Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital where evetually doctors diagnosed his condition.
“It was later that doctors said my condition is caused by tumor and that I have to undergo surgery”.
All fate in was lost for Muntari. But he paid attention to his education.
“I completed Al Azhariya Senior High School in 2013 and then proceeded to Kumasi Technical University to study HND accounting with computing”.
Muntari says he had to brave the odd to wheel from home to school so as not to fail himself.
He graduated from the Kumasi Technical University in 2016, with second class upper. But getting a job after national service has been frustrating.
“After my national service in 2017, I sent application letters to every bank in the street of Tafo but the private sector wasn’t really interested in persons with disabilities”,
Muntari believes his condition has not helped his chances of finding a job.
“Most of my graduate friends have jobs. I think my condition is a factor”,
Without work or anything gain by the end of the month, he decided to further his education and has now graduated with a first class honours degree programme in accounting with computing.
I asked how he was able to succeed academically considering his condition and probably, competing with many capable students at the university.
” It doesn’t take magic to excel in academics. It takes hard work, commitment and concentration,”
“I used my time judiciously and paid attention to details at the lecture hall,”
He was in constant contact with Teaching Assistants to ensure he understood all that mattered.
Now, he has overcome one of the factors that might have limited his participation in the labour market.
But how does it feel when you have excellent academic qualification in your field of study but employers deny you the opportunity to work?
Muntari is still in a limbo of his chances in finding a job.
He currently works as NABCO personnel at the Tafo government hospital as a supervisor for revenue colletion.
“My concentration is to secure job in the public sector after nabco which will end in October. The job first”, he emphasis.
Twenty-nine-year-old says he looks back at his life with the pain that he would have been treated fairly if not for his disability to walk.
It is a great regret for him, but trusts in the will of God.
Friends have left him in his wheelchair and not many people empathize with him.
“Time changes. Some come to visit me, but others don’t come at all. I am okay with it”,
Muntari wants the government to find a sustainable way to deal with the concerns of persons living with disabilities.
“I am appealing to the government to consider a percentage of employment in every sector to persons with disabilities so that we can get a job”,
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