Empowering Persons with Disabilities Through Training and Employment: A Case Study
Abstract. Empowering persons with disabilities (PWDs) involves ensuring their independence and self-reliance by creating job opportunities for them. However, PWDs are marginalized when it comes to employment. In the Asia Pacific region alone, the unemployment rate for PWDs is 80% or more. One way to address this issue is to utilize social enterprise (a business for profit and social responsibility) as a mechanism for the inclusion of PWDs in the economy. This qualitative case study examined the effort of empowering PWDs through training and employment by “Handcrafted by Harl’s,” a social enterprise in Laguna, Philippines. The findings indicate a few things including the following: (a) A social enterprise was a viable an ethical mechanism for the inclusion of PWDs in the economy. (b) Mentoring was a successful way of training PWDs for skills development that promotes a sense of value. (c) A social enterprise could be an avenue for the empowerment of PWDs leading to their participation in socio-economic activities if healthy conditions supporting their experiences on their psychological needs were provided. Finally, the result of this study supports findings of previous studies that suggest that disability is socially constructed.
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