Digital employment and start-up opportunities for people with disabilities

A forum highlighting businesses' role in ensuring that this digital revolution is inclusive, was held on December 1 in Hanoi.

The forum aimed to connect investors and supporters, discussing the key trends of the future of work from a disability perspective and seeking ways to identify specific action needed in order to create a more disability-inclusive labour market. Photo: UNDP

Representatives of organizations support for persons with disabilities, private sector, investors and supporters of start-ups joined the forum themed “Digital entrepreneurship opportunities for persons with disabilities co-existing with COVID-19” to discuss how to promote digital employment and start-up opportunities for people with disabilities.

They agreed that one group at risk of being left behind in the digital revolution is people with disabilities, including physical, vision, and hearing impairments. Helping people with disabilities develop the skills needed to fill these jobs can create new opportunities for them while enabling businesses to meet their staffing needs.

There are currently more than 6.2 million persons with disabilities in Vietnam. They are among the hardest hit by the COVID19 pandemic. UNDP’s Rapid Assessment on Socio-Economic Impacts of COVID-19 showed that 30 percent of PWDs lost their jobs during COVID-19, neatly 50 percent had their work hours reduced, and nearly 60% had their pay cut.

This year’s International Day for Persons with Disabilities focus on “Building Back Better: toward a disability-inclusive, accessible and sustainable post COVID-19 World”. It is based on the ‘leaving no one behind’ principle of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, especially in vulnerable situations.

It requires the involvement and collaboration of all stakeholders to take concrete action to ensure a future of work that is inclusive of people with disabilities. Photo: UNDP

At the forum, UNDP Resident Representative in Vietnam Caitlin Wiesen highlighted three approaches to accelerating progress of the disability-inclusive implementation of the 2030 Agenda.  These include: taking a multi-stakeholder approach; recognizing persons with disabilities as experts on their needs and leading agents of change; and putting in place adequate adjustments to enable persons with disabilities to take the advantage of home-based or online employment.

“As we work to build forward better, it is clear that we must put persons with disabilities - their inclusion, representation, rights, and protection - at the centre of these efforts with the SDGs as our compass,” said Wiesen.

For persons with disabilities, decent work means they can be empowered to lead more independent lives and contribute to the wellbeing of their families, communities and societies at large, building together a more inclusive economy.

To contribute to a disability-inclusive recovery from COVID-19 and implement the recommendations from the Rapid Assessment, the UN Development Programme (UNDP) together with the Vocational Training Centre, under the Hanoi Blind Association, with the support of the Government of Japan, will provide a 4-month online and digital business training and coaching program for 22 trainees with visual impairments.

In addition, a model accessible district hospital is being built with rehabilitation services for Persons with disabilities, thus responding to their healthcare needs even in disaster situations. At the policy level, UNDP is working closely with government partners to support the process of revising the Law on Persons with Disabilities after ten years of implementation and Vietnam’s accession to the Marrakesh Treaty to protect the rights of information access for people with print disabilities.

Translated by Tu Anh