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Inclusion is not a trend, nor a privilege, it's a right

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Inclusion is not a trend, nor a privilege, it's a right

Ileana Hieber Hernández is a Pedagogue from Universidad Anáhuac México Norte, she holds a Diploma in Inclusion of People with Disabilities from Universidad Anáhuac, and a Master’s in Integration of People with Disabilities, Quality of Life, from the Universidad de Salamanca, Spain. 

My wish as a person with a disability is that people with disabilities stop struggling one day regarding issues related to educational and employment inclusion and start worrying about our next trip, having fun with our friends, planning our wedding, visiting the salon, or buying our own apartment with inclusion being an already solved and outdated issue. 

Unfortunately, in our countries, reality shows us parents doing acrobatics to find a school that accepts students with disabilities and offers them a quality education, while on the other hand, we see adults with disabilities, even with a Master’s degree, begging companies for a job or going through endless interview processes where they are played with for three or four months only to be notified via an automated message that they have been rejected for that position. 

man-in-wheelchair-outraged-in-front-of-stairs

Definitely, when parents of children with disabilities have to make a range of efforts for their children to be accepted in a school and adults with disabilities spend their lives begging for jobs, we are talking about a non-inclusive society. 

This situation occurs in much of Latin America, where companies spend years publicizing their multiple diplomas in the field of employment inclusion, they may even build ramps and elevators, but they never successfully conclude the hiring process for candidates with disabilities. They justify their actions by showing that the tax benefits are not motivating enough for the company and that the candidates do not have the minimum skills to be worthy of being hired in their entities. 

Meanwhile… people with disabilities spend their lives waiting for the outcome of their last interview, as if this event had been just a mirage in the desert. 

As a consequence, the lives of people with disabilities begin to stagnate in a vicious circle; without finding work, they have no financial resources of their own, cannot marry, buy a house, and end up being a burden first to their elderly parents and then to the rest of their family. 

inclusion in work business team

Faced with this situation, people with disabilities are constantly seeking training courses, thinking that they are not worthy of working with “their royal highness, the companies.” 

But why suffer so much to get a job if life is short? According to Russell (1977), “Employment from a holistic perspective of individual needs should be understood as a means for social integration. Employment for people with disabilities is the same as for any other individual: a place where capabilities and skills are of paramount importance,” and since the time of Adam and Eve, God warned us that we would earn our bread by the sweat of our brow (Genesis 3:19), meaning for the past 120,000 years, work is no longer optional, it’s not a hobby, it’s a requirement, an obligation for the survival of any human being, and a way where a person finds dignity. 

In addition to being an obligation to survive, work is a key factor for the individual to achieve the dimensions that constitute their quality of life such as: emotional well-being, material well-being, personal development, self-determination, and social inclusion (Quality of Life Model by Robert I Schalock and Miguel Ángel Verdugo, 2007). 

But why do companies build elevators, ramps, and can have a person with a disability waiting months to be hired only to say: we’re sorry, you were not selected? 

Nobody, not even people with disabilities themselves, like to live or work with individuals who are different from us. Although many companies know that they will receive tax benefits by hiring people with disabilities, they are aware that they will have to make various modifications in many mechanisms of their work structure, these mechanisms are very heavy bricks to move, and the easiest thing is to let them continue where they are. 

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Some of these mechanisms to implement are: 

– Investment for some months in accompanying, monitoring, and supervising the new collaborator with a disability. 

– Designing supports so that the collaborator with a disability reaches the level of functioning required by the company. 

– Adaptation and support in the knowledge of the company’s mechanisms so that the collaborator can carry them out. 

Many companies, upon seeing this, have said: – This is not a daycare! 
As long as this mindset continues in our countries, people with disabilities will rely on welfare governments that do not encourage the hiring of disabled talent but distribute miserable pensions among people with disabilities without jobs. 

Government and the business sector must come together and make a measurable and reviewable commitment through objectives. The government must incentivize, promote, and monitor that companies increase the hiring of people with disabilities and in return promote real tax benefits that the company truly values as a business strategy. 

By achieving the above, we will be aiming to be a fairer, more equitable, tolerant, and responsible society. 

Unlike a daycare, it’s about having people full of talents in your team, generating new projects and ideas from another perspective of life, resilient, capable, and persevering members. 

Ileana Hieber Hernández

Ileana Hieber Hernández

Instagram: @ileana_hieber
Language: Spanish

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