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Haiti learns on disability in Ecuador

June 13, 2013


Representatives of Haiti and Ecuador met for the exchange of experiences and solutions on disability matters.

World Bank

  • Seven representatives of the Haitian government visited Programs for the Inclusion of Persons with Disability.
  • Between 2006 and 2012, approximately 10 thousand persons with different types of disability have been inserted into the job market.
  • The delegation met with the Ecuadorian Inclusion Service, which helps disabled persons to find a job.

What may Ecuador teach Haiti on the disability matter? This and other questions were answered during the recent visit that an Haitian delegation paid to Quito and Manta, where they have seen first-hand, how the program for the inclusion of persons with disabilities work in the job market.

Programs, such as the Manuela Espejo Mission and the Labor Inclusion Service  (SIL/LIS) were used as examples to see Ecuador’s outcome on disability matters.  Approximately between 2006 and 2012, ten (10) thousand persons with different types of disabilities have been successfully inserted into Ecuador’s  job market.

In Manta, that is located on Ecuador’s coastline, the delegation visited several microbusiness leadered by persons with physical, hearing, and seeing disabilities.  That is the case of a cyber-café, where several services besides internet are offered and a workshop, where handcrafts are made with the Tagua seed (palm tree seed), also known as either ivory nut, or vegetable ivory.

Both in Manta and Quito, the Labor Inclusion Service allows that individuals with different disabilities work in different places on a regular manner. This service offers training, advisory, and support throughout the whole process of the job insertion

For Ms María Ana Cedeño, coordinator of the Labor Inclusion Service, this was a very enriching experience for the countries. “This is the first time that we have had the opportunity that such a large delegation visited us and that for a two-week period we have been able to share our day-to-day work”, she informed.

Mr David Charles, the Bank’s coordinator of equipment adapted from Haiti travelled together with: Guerline Dardignac, director of the delegation, Anel Lavard, Fritz Osner Saint-Paul, Pierre Renerl Moise, Louis Arlext and Joacyne Marseille, all of them members of the Office of the Secretary of State for the inclusion of persons with disabilities.

" I have always felt part of the companies where I have worked, and I haven’t felt any type of discrimination, the most important thing is to keep your self-esteem high. "

Yolanda Viera

Beneficiary of the Labor Inclusion Service

Integration for all

Within the visit carried out by Haiti’s officials, they were able to participate of the jobs fair that took place at the National Council of Disabilities  (CONADIS). This fair, that is organised weekly by the Labor Inclusion Service has enabled that several persons with disabilities find an appropriate job for their needs.

This service, that is provided in coordination with the Ministry of Labor Relations, allows that any person holding a disability badge receives assistance and that he/she is assessed by a specialized counselor. Thus, not only the training needs, but the labor placement needs as well are both verified for later on negotiating the hiring with a potential employer.

Furthermore, the delegation was also able to accompany one labor counsellor in one of the visits paid to a textile factory, where David Charles commented: “Fifteen persons with disabilities were found working, which exceeds the compulsory quota by law, however, what has impressed me the most was the integration that these persons had with the rest of the personnel, for instance, how many of other companions have learnt the signs language”.

Thanks to this encounter the delegation of Haiti received professional talks from people who work in informatics, orientation, promotion, and training of the SIL and have met and interviewed persons with disabilities for later on having this model replicated in their country.

Ms Yolanda Viera, who is 52 years old, and who lost her hands in a gunpowder explosion at the age of seven commented: "I have always felt part of the companies where I have worked, I haven’t felt any kind of discrimination, the most important thing is to keep your self-esteem high”. Since 2007, Yolanda has worked in a butcher’s company. At present she performs as the SIL’s administrative assistant.

“There was a lot of participation and questions, and we were able to exchange ideas”, affirmed Ms Guerline Dardignac. Later on, she explained about the plan that will be submitted to different ministries and to the specialized public. “Haiti’s top interest at this moment is to carry out a registration, to hand out identification badges, and then to put into practice an Act which was approved in 2012, that favors the labor inclusion of persons with disabilities”, he informed.

Experience Exchange

This activity is part of a Technical Assistance Project and a South-South Experience Exchange between Haiti and Ecuador, which has the World Bank’s support, and its financial assistance too.  It’s framed within the initiative América Solidaria and Haiti.

Ms Francesca Lamanna, coordinator of the World Bank’s Social Protection Program Haiti  affirmed that the next step is to establish an employment system for persons with disabilities similar to Ecuador’s: “Profiting from Ecuador’s successful experience is a unique opportunity for Haiti”, she concluded.