Cover Image
close this bookSelf-Employment for Disabled People - Experiences from Africa and Asia (ILO, 1989, 100 p.)
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentAcknowledgements
View the documentIntroduction: What is this book about?
close this folder1. The purpose of this book
View the documentChallenging myths and attitudes
View the documentProviding encouragement
View the documentChanging rehabilitation approaches
View the documentWhom is the book for?
close this folder2. Self-employment - An option for disabled people
View the documentDefining the terms
View the documentSelf-employment is not for everyone
View the documentWhy self-employment?
View the documentThe position of the disabled
View the documentDiscouragement from self-employment
View the documentMotivation for self-employment
View the documentWorking together
close this folder3. Disabled entrepreneurs: Case studies
close this folderThe sample
View the document(introduction...)
close this folderGroup I: Enterprises still receiving assistance
View the documentMary Gwande: The Jerusalem Tailors' Co-operative
View the documentThe Oyugis Sheltered Workshop
View the documentJambo's Shoe Repair business
View the documentMomodou Njie: The miller
View the documentCommentary: Group I
close this folderGroup II: Enterprises which received assistance
View the documentBabu Suryawanshi's dairy farm
View the documentThe Rainbow Kiosk
View the documentBinti Manoa's dressmaking school
View the documentFely Lucas: pavement vendor
View the documentBob Sabio and Sons: Figurines
View the documentCommentary: Group II
close this folderGroup III: Independent entrepreneurs
View the documentJosť Ocasla: Watch repairing
View the documentLamin Sambou: The tailor
View the documentAgripa Mutetsa's watch repairs
View the documentNazir Hakim's auto-rickshaw
View the documentManuel Tan: Waysonics Radio/TV Tutorship
View the documentGeorge Karasa: The Museka Butchery and General Store
View the documentMang Tibong: Miniature musical instruments
View the documentCommentary: Group III
View the documentNote
close this folder4. What do disabled entrepreneurs need?
View the documentProblems of the disabled self-employed
View the documentProblems before starting
View the documentShortage of capital
View the documentMarketing
View the documentOther problems
close this folder5. What is being done for disabled entrepreneurs?
View the documentOrganisations and their funding
View the documentClients and the objectives of rehabilitation
View the documentThe training offered
View the documentDuration of training
View the documentCapital
View the documentMarketing
View the documentFollow-up
close this folder6. Lessons to be learned
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentSelf-employment is not for everyone
View the documentThe disabled are not very different from other people
View the documentInstitutions should be local and flexible
View the documentFinance may be granted but loans must be repaid
View the documentAssistance must “bridge the gap”
close this folder7. Some thoughts for planners
View the documentThe global scene
View the documentSelf-reliance versus dependence
View the documentRethinking planning priorities
View the documentAnnex I. Guide-lines for assistance to self-employment
View the documentAnnex II. Institutions surveyed
View the documentAnnex III. Further reading
View the documentOther ILO publications
View the documentBack cover

Defining the terms

For the purposes of this book, we shall adopt broad and deliberately imprecise general guide-lines. By a disabled person we mean anyone who experiences significant limitations in one or several functions because of a physical, sensorial or mental impairment or deficiency. On account of these limitations, and of the negative societal attitudes which often go with it, the person who has a handicap will most likely experience restrictions in the ability fully to develop his or her potential and to earn a living. Disability may or may not affect the ability to work, but a disabled person will usually have to cope with many more problems than would a non-disabled person. However, it is a misconception - suggested by the term disability and nourished by common prejudice - that disability means inability to work.

The decision as to whether a particular person does or not fall into the category of “disabled people” is clearly affected not only by physical condition, but also by living conditions and the availability of artificial aids. A strong pair of spectacles, an artificial limb or even a wheelchair might move someone out of our definition, and a person living in a remote rural area with no roads which can be used by wheeled vehicles may be more “disabled” than someone with the same or greater physical disability who lives in a town and is well served by public transport. The disabled people referred to in this book are therefore ordinary people who are fit for work, ready to become entrepreneurs and able to earn a living for themselves and their families. The special handicap with which they must cope could be their private affair. However, as a disability often goes hand in hand with discrimination and the denial of equal opportunities in education, training and employment, disabled people do require positive and supportive interventions on their behalf.

“Self-employment”, “small enterprise” and such terms are similarly fraught with definitional problems. Here again, we shall select a meaning which is appropriate for our purpose regardless of any lack of precision or alternative views. Our concern in this book, as reflected in the case studies, lies mainly with the very smallest type of enterprise that employs few workers, maybe only the owner.

Larger enterprises are outside the scope of this book because once an enterprise has reached the stage of employing a significant number of employees, it is unlikely to need the same kind of support as one which is just being started, whether or not its owner is disabled; and this book is intended principally for those concerned with identifying ways in which disabled people can become self-sufficient, rather than with helping those who have already achieved this.

It is important to distinguish self-employment from subsidised and protected employment such as sheltered workshops or income-generating schemes funded by assistance agencies. Many severely disabled people may always need a degree of employment assistance, whether in the form of voluntary or otherwise subsidised management, an especially protected market, supplies of raw materials, provision of workshops or other forms of shelter from the pressures of the competitive world of business. The exclusion of a “business” of this kind, except as a route to what we call genuine self-employment, should not be interpreted to mean that it is not an appropriate solution. For some people, a sheltered environment will remain the only way of partaking in productive activities and of experiencing a certain degree of economic independence and recognition. However, such an enterprise can be considered as self-employment within the terms of reference of this book only if the employees themselves take over and manage it on a self-sustaining basis.