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Rwanda:1500 people to benefit from a $1.5m investment to promote employment among youth with disabilities

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in collaboration with the Rwandan government have launched the Umurimo Kuri Bose (Kinyarwanda for “Employment for All”) activity, to promote an inclusive and enabling  environment for youth with disabilities to access and succeed in employment on the Rwandan  market. 

The launch took place in Kigali on December 2, 2020 ahead of the celebration of the International Day for People with Disabilities on December 3.

Youth, particularly youth with disabilities, struggle to obtain meaningful employment, and this situation has only been worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic. Recent statistics from the National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda (NISR 2017) place Rwanda’s overall unemployment rate at 16.7%; the rate is 18.5% of unemployment rate for persons with disabilities, and overall youth unemployment rate is even higher at 21%.

The Umurimo Kuri Bose activity will tackle barriers that hinder youth with disabilities from attaining employment opportunities, addressing both the supply and demand sides of the labor market.

The activity will also bridge disability inclusion gaps by increasing employability skills, empowerment, engagement, and equity for youth with disabilities through sign language and braille training; and a comprehensive package of training modules coupled with internships placement support to provide hands-on work experience.  

“It is a project that we are very grateful for because young people or people with disabilities face the barriers to get a job as most of them do not have the opportunity to go to school. When a person is educated he or she can also find a job on his or her own or work in different institutions”, the Executive Secretary of National Council of People with Disabilities NCPD, Emmanuel Ndayisaba has explanained.

The Minister of State in Charge of Social Affairs and Social Protection Ignatienne Nyirarukundo, said the project will help in the economic development of people with disabilities themselves and the country as a whole.

“It’s possible for anyone with a disability to get a job and the dissent one. That is a battle we have to fight together to give different people with disabilities the opportunity to have access to employment”, she says.

The Minister of State in Charge of Social Affairs and Social Protection Ignatienne Nyirarukundo

The Umurimo Kuri Bose complements other USAID investments, including Huguka Dukore Akazi Kanoze. Positive youth development and inclusion of people with disabilities are strategic priorities through USAID’s activities in Rwanda. 

The US Ambassador to Rwanda, Peter Vrooman, said that supporting people with disabilities cannot be taken as charity, rather they deserve it and it’s their rights.

He said: “People with disabilities, especially young people don’t have many opportunities and yet they can be great workers, we want this program aims to give them labor opportunities. Giving them something is their rights. By empowering them, they can contribute as they have their own talents to be successfully in the workplace”

He called upon government entities, civil societies and private companies to promote inclusion as a way of promoting innovation and reducing stigma among people with disabilities.

The US Ambassador to Rwanda, Peter Vrooman

When asked about USAID’s commitment to inclusive education, USAID’s Mission Director in Rwanda, Leslie Marbury explained, “USAID is partnering with the Government of Rwanda to  equip youth with the skills they need for successful employment or self-employment, as well as  to create a society in which people with disabilities participate fully.”

USAID Umurimo Kuri Bose which is an investment of nearly Rwf1.5 billion(USD $1.5 million) over two years, will support employment and economic empowerment of 1,560 youth  of which 1,200 are youth with disabilities in 12 districts in Rwanda.

It is implemented by Development Center, Inc. (EDC), in partnership with Umbrella of Organizations of People with  Disabilities in the Fight against HIV and AIDS in Health Promotion (UPHLS), Akazi Kanoze  Access (AKA), Rwanda Union of the Blind (RUB), Rwanda National Union of the Deaf (RNUD),  and UWEZO Youth Empowerment.

The Executive Secretary of National Council of People with Disabilities NCPD, Emmanuel Ndayisaba

By Kanamugire Emmanuel

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