|Self-Employment for Disabled People - Experiences from Africa and Asia (ILO, 1989, 100 p.)|
|1. The purpose of this book|
The ideal readers of this book would be disabled people with the problem of how to support themselves. They would, we hope, be exposed to the possibilities of self-employment but also warned of the difficulties. We must accept, however, that it is unlikely that many copies of this book will fall into the hands of such people; many of them are in any case illiterate, at least in the languages in which it is likely to be available, and they lack access to the channels through which this book, or any similar publications, are likely to be distributed.
We must therefore move one stage back from the intended beneficiaries to those whose job it is to assist them. Basically, the book is addressed to two different groups of readers. First, and perhaps most obviously, it should introduce the idea of self-employment to staff of rehabilitation organisations and show them some of the pitfalls and opportunities. Second, we hope that at least some of the many official and non-governmental organisations that assist new and small enterprises in virtually every country will realise, as a result of reading this book, that disabled people represent an important source of potential entrepreneurs.
Both types of institution are already to a varying degree involved in assisting disabled people, and we do not wish to give the impression that those concerned with rehabilitation are totally unaware of the possibilities of self-employment or that agencies promoting new enterprises take no account of disabled people.
In fact, a number of specific initiatives are being introduced by such institutions: the Small Enterprise Development Organisation of Malawi, for instance, has set up a revolving loan fund especially for disabled borrowers, and the Lesotho Bank will likewise soon start a similar scheme. In India many local banks already have a policy of granting loans to disabled entrepreneurs.
There are, nevertheless, perhaps even larger numbers of staff in institutions of both types who are unaware of how some disabled people can gain enormously from self-employment. We hope that this book will stimulate them to become involved in this field and to extend their assistance to disabled people who might consider self-employment as an option, or are already self-employed.