A. For Persons with Disability
· As far as possible, aim at self-reliance. Self-sufficiency
is an unachievable goal, because nobody on this earth is self-sufficient, we all
need support and resources from outside. However, self-reliance, the ability to
look after our own affairs, is both achievable and necessary for self-esteem.
· Decide which particular option is best suited for their
circumstances self-employment, wage or salary employment, or within some kind of
subsidized income generating activity, either in the mainstream economy or in an
isolated operation with other fellow PWDs.
· If the circumstances, including their specific disability,
are too exacting, difficult, then some kind of institutionalised subsidy may
well have to become part of life. Otherwise, it is best to get out of subsidized
existence as soon as is possible.
· Insist on being part of the mainstream, and not be
isolated from the rest of society.
· Bear in mind that when engaged in group IGP, the first
skill to learn is not the technical skill, but the human skills - how to relate
to people, how to reconcile differences, how to observe group ethics. These make
or break groups.
· Try not to be exploitative of other people when engaged in
an IGP of their own as individuals. For then, how different are they from those
they criticise for exploiting them?
· Always be conscious of gender and class differences
amongst themselves as PWDs. When engaged in IGPs they must observe fair practice
in relation to those sections of the society who tend to be abused or
B. For the Government
The government should:
· Develop and implement policies which enable PWDs and their
families to attain a decent quality of life.
· Not treat PWDs as one homogeneous group of people, and
"lump" them together in a uniform programme of action. There are differences
amongst them, and these differences have to be respected. There are those
amongst them who might need institutionalised back-up support for many years.
But the vast numbers are likely to be those who could look after themselves with
some initial support in the form of training, tools, capital, and extension
· Work out with other stakeholders (for example, commercial
banks for start-up capital) ways and means of providing subsidy, where this is
necessary. It could, for example, take the form of subsidizing the salary of a
skilled PWD employed by a private company.
· Encourage cooperatives of PWDs, where practical, so that
PWDs can pool their resources and skills to earn collective living. These must
then be supported with outreach programmes just like any other cooperative.
· Ensure and monitor the application of fair standards in
relation to PWDs engaged in business. There are those among the PWDs who are
quite competent to start a business or a profession as individuals. Often,
however, they face discriminatory practices by trade associations, banks,
marketing agencies, insurance companies, and even civil servants. These must be
exposed and dealt with by law.
· Apply the "participatory' principle in all income
generating projects of PWDs. They must facilitate the PWDs to do their own
C. For NGOs, INGOs and NGOs working with PWDs
· Much of what is said about the role and responsibility of
governments also applies to NGOs, especially the need to respect differences
amongst PWDs and to be sensitive to the specific demands of each category.
· Some IGOs and NGOs are moving out of their inclination to
support only group initiatives among the PWDs. But many still are locked into
past practices. PWDs need to be supported as groups, for sure. But PWDs are also
individuals. Those amongst them who have the competence to start on their own as
individuals must be supported.
· As with government, IGOs and NGOs must apply the
"participatory" principle when working with the PWDs.
· They should consider funding programmes for parents of
disabled children and caters of severely disabled persons.
Some Areas for Further Discussion
What is the difference between "self-sufficiency' and
"self-reliance"? What does it take to be self-reliant?
What group ethics are necessary for a group income generating
project to succeed?
Should donors support an individual PWD who exploits the labour or
skills of other PWDs for his/her profit on the grounds that it at least creates
employment for the