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

Motivation for self-employment

This form of ostracism or exclusion from society may, however, be more than outweighed by the sympathy which many people feel for the disabled. Some may avoid them but others may give them preference when making buying decisions, allocating space or giving licences in the same way that some firms give special preference to disabled employees. Many disabled people, and particularly those who are of the type to want to become self-employed, might be reluctant to accept this element of charity or support, but it has to be accepted like any other fact and it may in some cases make all the difference between failure and success.

There are a number of other positive factors which may make it easier rather than harder for some disabled people to survive in their own businesses. Entrepreneurship is frequently associated with the will to overcome the state of “social marginality”; people who are in some way excluded from society often derive from this the motivation to take the risky and original initiative of starting their own enterprise. This may be because they have no alternative.

One case in point may be refugees, who are perhaps the most obviously marginalised group. They usually arrive in their host country with little more than the clothes they stand up in, having often suffered physically and psychologically during their flight from their own country. Yet in spite of these difficulties, or perhaps because of them, refugees have, through self-employment, become prosperous members of their new countries and have often made a major contribution to their economic development.


A blind masseur working in the Philippines

It is often the psychological condition of disabled people that makes them particularly likely to do well and persevere in self-employment, for if this is successful, it is also a particularly effective way of establishing somebody's confidence and of achieving genuine rehabilitation not only of the body but also of the spirit.

Disability can also be a stimulus for independent problem-solving and innovation. Disabled children often develop new and effective ways of moving around, communicating or otherwise overcoming their problems. Nobody in the family or the community has been faced with the same problem before. The experience of facing and coping with difficulties which are unfamiliar can be a valuable, if onerous, form of personal development. Entrepreneurs have been defined as “people who put things together in new ways”. This is exactly what disabled people have to do.

In a more direct, physical sense, people who have lost the use of one faculty, or have never possessed it, are more likely to be able to concentrate single-mindedly on a task which needs the faculties that they do possess than those who possess other faculties which are not being used and are thus likely to be a source of distraction. Massage is perhaps the most obvious example; blind masseurs are well known for their skill, and there are many examples of blind people who are able to succeed partly because they can transmit all their skill and concentration through their fingers rather than being disturbed by sight, which is fundamentally unnecessary for massage.

Deaf people develop their own ways of keeping company with themselves without the distraction of conversation; if their business is of a kind where they do not regularly have to speak to other people or where such contact can be facilitated as necessary by outsiders, they may be particularly effective because of their ability to concentrate and to avoid distractions.