Down Syndrome Foundation, Nigeria (DSFN) has advocated inclusive employment policy for people with intellectual disabilities in Nigeria.
The Foundation on Thursday in Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial capital, made the advocacy at the launching of its reports on Best Employment Practices in The Inclusive Employment of Persons with Intellectual Disabilities in Nigeria.
According to its report findings, Persons with intellectual disabilities suffered a range of barriers to employment, including restricted mobility; communication difficulties; poor relationships with colleagues; underpayment, maltreatment, and harassment in the workplace.
The Foundation stated that:
“Parents and caregivers of persons with intellectual disabilities highlighted issues and barriers, including: discrimination, stigmatization, and harassment; a perceived inability to work under pressure and without supervision; a lack of awareness or mistaken beliefs related to disability; restricted mobility; and inaccessible information and communication.”
It added that the barriers highlighted by potential employers included: beliefs that the nature of the job would not be suitable; communication difficulties; and a lack of trained personnel, technological support and funding for the down syndrome employees
It recommended for the Government of Nigeria and employers measures to promote the employment of persons with intellectual disabilities in both private and public sectors.
It also highlighted measures to put in place to safeguard persons with intellectual disabilities from harassment and discrimination and to create an inclusive environment for persons with intellectual disabilities and all other employees.
Addressing the issue of discrimination and stigmatisation ,the programme Director, Mirian Anyanwu who represented the Chief Executive officer (CEO), Down Syndrome Foundation, Nigeria (DSFN) Mrs Rose Mordi, pointed that asides others forms of disabilities like physical, Albino, deaf and blind who are there with some unemployment, she is yet to see any organisation be it government or private hiring persons with down syndrome or autism despite having being trained by the Foundation in various skills to fit in for employment opportunities.
Meanwhile, March 21 yearly is Internationally recognised as World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD) which has been officially observed by the United Nations since 2012 for the global awareness.
Mirian Anyanwu disclosed that the Foundation is also planning a conference to commemorate 2023 edition later in the months on the theme ” with us not for us’. because the date is unique where they would showcase and not to cover the persons with intellectual disabilities.