Côte d’Ivoire has between 500,000 and 900,000 people with disabilities, according to sources, a figure that can be largely underestimated. The vast majority have no job, as the integration of people with disabilities into Ivorian society and into working life in particular is still very difficult. But civil society wants to change this reality and better integrate them into the labor market through several initiatives.
as reported from Abidjan, Peter Pinto
In Ivory Coast, many people with disabilities hide and are not very visible in the public sphere: they carry on their shoulders the weight of superstition and irrational fears. Often these people are therefore out of school and excluded from the labor market.
“There are so many prejudices around us that some business leaders would not even bother to flip through our resumes,” said Armel N’guetta, chair of the Physically Handicapped Students’ Integration Group. Sometimes, even when we ask to be interviewed, when they realize that it is a person with a disability, we hear “I did not know you were like that”.
In theory, the law requires companies to employ 1% of the disabled. But this law is not respected due to lack of sanction. At the head of La Libellule, a recruitment and consulting firm, Danièle Adahi Bikpo fights to place graduates with disabilities in companies in the private sector:
When a company needs a person with a disability, we work with them to hire the right person. We take into account a number of parameters and we have a database of more than 1300 people. So we must necessarily have one or two people who can match the company. When we talk about 1300 people, in Côte d’Ivoire, for qualified people, I can tell you that this number is already very interesting. Because in the countryside we do not have access and because very few are educated. Every year for the past six years, Danièle Adahi Bikpo has organized a “handi-employment” day, which has made it possible to get 400 internships, 20% of which were converted into contracts. Next is scheduled for May 17.