Improve disabled people's life through sustainable livelihood

In today’s scenario, where global is the new local, it is essential to make sure that people with disabilities can find jobs – not just to earn money, but to do so more dignifiedly and lead a respectful life. Even though things are becoming better for people with disabilities with many NGOs working to provide sustainable livelihood to people across all strata, they still have a hard time finding jobs – one such organisation is TRRAIN.


Employment status of the disabled – pathways to improve disabled people’s life


Let’s go through some facts and figures regarding the employment of differently-abled people, which are as per the reports by the UN


  • At the global level, particularly in developing countries, 80-90% of employable persons with disabilities are unemployed.
  • In industrialised countries, the unemployment rate for persons with disabilities is between 50-70%.


  • In the case of developed countries, the official unemployment rate for employable persons with disabilities is typically double that of those without disabilities.


  • The data for Asia and the Pacific states that the region has 370 million persons with disabilities, of whom nearly 240 million are of working age.


  • Their unemployment rate is generally twice that of the general population, often reaching 80% or higher.


Challenges in obtaining sustainable solutions for disabled –


The job market is always open, but when it comes to recruiting people with disabilities, or those from the backward sections of the society, there is always a “conditions apply” scenario. There are so many factors that prevent Persons with Disabilities from getting a job. Here are some of them –


  • Social stigma: Many times, people with disabilities face discrimination and stigma in the workplace, which can be a reason why they cannot access employment opportunities completely. Individuals with disabilities are often underestimated because of prejudiced beliefs. This brings down the morale of those people.


  • Infrastructural barriers: The absence of a ramp, an escalator, or an elevator are a few examples of infrastructure in workplaces that are a must for differently abled people. Their absence makes it difficult for disabled people to move about in their environment and do their jobs.


  • Limited accommodations: Employers often tend to neglect to support disabled workers because such efforts are considered costly and time-consuming, thereby increasing access to one of the most effective means of countering unemployment.


  • Inadequate education and training: Access to education and training opportunities are limited for disabled people, with few programs tailored to their particular requirements. Such restrictions make it difficult to gain experience and progress in their chosen field.


Ways to improve lives through sustainable livelihoods:


The approach of sustainable livelihood creation can be a good initiative to enhance the quality of life for people with disabilities. Sustainable livelihoods can be one way to provide more access to income opportunities, hence empowering the people, reducing poverty, and increasing their contribution to the social and economic sectors. For example:


  1. Microfinance and Entrepreneurship


When it comes to lending for small businesses, microfinance institutions and similar NBFCs are an excellent idea as they provide small loans and business training to individuals, including people with disabilities. These financial institutions are particularly more helpful in improving sustainable rural livelihood. When the whole nation is going towards “self-dependence”, why should these people be left behind.


  1. Leveraging technology and infrastructure


Taking help from tech, such as assistive technologies, like wheelchairs, hearing aids, Braille, or some applications and related software, can empower people with disabilities to pass physical as well as mental barriers. By offering these tools, employers can create a more inclusive and accessible workplace.


  1. Considering simple accommodations –


It’s a fact that the lifestyles and physical capabilities of differently abled individuals and those who are able-bodies are not the same. So giving some basic yet crucial job accommodations, such as flexible work hours, customized workstations, or assistive technology, can help people with disabilities perform their jobs more efficiently. It is their most fundamental duty to work with employees to identify and implement necessary accommodations.


  1. Effective training and development opportunities –


By providing employees with disabilities-specific training and development opportunities, employers can enhance their skills. This can further increase their self-confidence and sense of self-worth, thereby making them a cherished asset in the organization.


  1. Disability Employment Services (D.E.S)


Many countries across the world run specialized disability employment services, such as job coaching, mentorship, and peer support, which provide guidance and assistance to people with disabilities as they navigate the job market. Such services are a boon to those people.



Sustainable Livelihood Strategies and Its Challenges


It’s like a rule of thumb – anything that offers paradigm shifting benefits, also has challenges in its implementation. Similarly, while sustainable livelihoods offer significant benefits, there are also challenges that need to be addressed in their implementation:


  • Infrastructure issues: Accessibility refers to facilities such as transportation, adaptive technology and other required accommodations. These facilities are critical to people with physical disabilities, as they enable and empower them to access and navigate through their everyday lives.


  • Time consuming: Sustainability can be fostered by developing strategies that are focused on assuring that long-term incomes are created rather than short term solutions. While these initiatives are excellent in helping a disabled person, they usually take longer time and more effort.


  • Multi-level collaboration: Implementing sustainable solutions for disabled people effectively needs harmonious collaboration among various stakeholders, including governments, employers, disability organizations and communities.


  • Addressing economic inequalities: The economic differences in society result in barriers for persons with disabilities, especially those belonging to marginalized communities. Sustainable livelihood programs must prioritize addressing these inequalities, creating avenues for income generation, and empowering them to lead dignified lives.



In a nutshell, sustainable solutions for the Persons with Disabilities demand multiple approaches, which can improve the quality of life for them. These solutions need to be implemented in such a way that People with Disabilities people do not just get employed, but get sustainable livelihoods; they need to empower individuals, reduce poverty levels as well as enhance their participation in socio-economic activities – and this is the very purpose of TRRAIN! Are you with us in fulfilling this dream of helping disabled persons, one at a time?



    Founded in 2011 by B.S. Nagesh, Trust for Retailers and Retail Associates of India (TRRAIN) is a 12A, 80G, public charitable trust that aims to catalyse a change in the retail industry by empowering people through retail and allied sectors in creating sustainable livelihoods for Persons with Disabilities and Young Women from marginalised backgrounds.

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