Greatra Mayana

Career & Employment Opportunities

Employment Matters for Everyone

My name is Amrita and I’m from Nepal. I’m here for my IREX Community Solutions
Program Fellowship. As part of this fellowship, I am working with
World Institute on Disability and learning about the U.S. inclusive employment and other
inclusion programs. I feel so empowered working here and it’s
not only because people are nice to me. It is because of accessible environment, diverse
team members and no-pity attitude towards employees with disabilities. For example, my host organization is fully
accessible for all employees with different abilities and everyone is recognized based
on their skills. In Nepal, I don’t think I have seen a quadriplegic
person working as an employee at workplace like my colleague Alex. People with disabilities are often incredibly
intelligent, incredibly insightful, and employers just need to recognize, number one, this person
can work, they can work well, and number two, they can actually bring something really vibrant. I think sometimes employers, they’re
just used to what they’re used to. They see someone in a wheelchair or they see
a blind person and they think, oh my god, I could never do that. And they really don’t know the education
or the abilities or the resources of that person, and they take that bias into hiring,
they take that bias into supervising, they take that bias into managing. Once somebody’s worked with a qualified
person with a disability for a while, you know, they see that they have all the talents,
all the skills, and all the motivation of their other employees, and usually, almost
without exception we see that, you know, employers can come around once they’ve been exposed
to what people with disabilities can do. It proves that it is the inaccessible accommodation
and negative attitude that make us disabled, not the person. In my country, the main obstacles we face
are inaccessible workplaces, negative attitudes, lack of adaptive technologies, lack of access
to education, skills, and professional development training. The root causes of these barriers are due
to lack of awareness and education on disability, negative cultural and religious beliefs and
misrepresentation of disability by the media. For example, we are still viewed as incapable
and unproductive members in our society. Another example, some religious notions are
[that] disability is a past sin or bad karma, and I have been told that many times in Nepal. Employers often believe that hiring a person
with disability requires an expensive accommodation, which is not true. There are a variety of ways to make reasonable
accommodations, many of which are inexpensive. So with my experience, dealing with accommodations,
they’ve not really been a big deal. A lot of times, accommodations are things
like flexible work schedules, having a lower desk, having a higher desk, text to speech
softwares or speech to text softwares. For me, accommodations have been very simple
and little or no cost. Here at our organization, the majority of
the staff has disabilities, and I really think that the disability perspective is an asset. You should not discriminate [against] someone
based on their disability if they are qualified for your job. Whether you have a disability or not, employment
is a basic need and equally important for everyone to live a dignified life.

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