The community with people with disabilities (PWD) in Vietnam is still crippling
According to UNICEF, more than 7% of Vietnam’s population is disabled and about 13% of the population currently lives in households with people with disabilities. In addition, these households are often poorer than those without member belonging to the disabled community. Children with disabilities have a lower chance of attending school, depriving them of proper education compared to other kids. Also, employment opportunities for people with disabilities are lower than those of those without disabilities. But the most alarming thing is that this ratio is on the rise.
The disabled community is large and they have the potential to create wonderful products that benefit the society. Sadly, they are currently experiencing inequalities in living standards and social inclusion. Especially in job search.
Most people with disabilities in Vietnam have a difficult time finding stable jobs. Their “go-to” professions are selling lottery tickets on the streets or working at massage centers, both of which can’t provide them with neither sustainable income. But most importantly, they are stuck with only two options. This is sad because they have the potential to create valuable products for society like any other. However, there is good news. A new age of recruitment is emerging. Some social enterprises are actively bringing more job opportunities to the disabled community.
The new age of employment for PWD
These three businesses are redefining the term “job” for people with disabilities. It isn’t simply a job that they do repetitively everyday, but now a career path, providing them with meaningfulness and empowerment.
The businesses treat their workers, who are all members of the disabled community, as another person, not someone missing an arm, an leg, or can’t talk or speak. They believe that everyone is the same and has tremendous power for greatness.
Reaching out Vietnam:
Teahouse coffee of the blind in Hoi An
In the Central region of Vietnam, a little tea-house is creating a unique experience for tourists and meaningful job for hearing impaired people. Reaching Out Café in Hoi An is another example in the list of businesses that are changing how we employed PWD.
All of the staff at this tea-house have hearing problems so communication has to be made in a special way. Guests communicate with waiters/waitresses via pieces of wood with paper stuck onto them. On those white papers are simple ordering terms and popular items at the tea-house. For example, a log might say “Bill”, while another have the word “Milk” on it for those who want to add some sweetness in their coffee. The atmosphere is almost always quite. Surprisingly, people coming to the tea-house aren’t bothered by it but rather, they appreciate it.
Reaching Out has expanded since the beginning. The business now offer jobs to local craftsmen, who despite their deafness, create beautiful traditional Vietnamese souvenirs. The business has become a place where everyone, whether disabled or not, works together, offers their talents to create wonderful material and spiritual values.
Enablecode: Technology by people with disabilities
Founded in 2014, Enablecode is a team of technological experts working together to create professional websites, eye-bawling graphics designs, and stunning mobile apps. That sounds normal enough, like a simple tech agency. But the special thing about Enablecode is that the “tech experts” here are all people with disabilities.
Enablecode’s mission is to change the perception of families who have members that are disabled. Normally, the parents would assume that their children cannot do anything with their disabilities, thus, why even bother trying to study or get a job. This is a prejudice that has excluded many people from participating as an active member of society and deprives the disables their chances for growth. This false perception is what Enablecode is trying to change. By creating a hub where tech experts with disabilities work together to create actual products for clients, Enablecode is slowly, but steadily changing how many Vietnamese think about the disables.
Enablecode utilizes every bit of modern technology to create the most productive working environment for technology experts with disabilities. Everyone can dedicate their talents. A deaf person can express her amazing new idea for the website by composing an email or a message, a paralyzed person with severe moving difficulty can attend a weekly meeting via Skype. There isn’t really a reason why someone should be held back from contributing just because they have “modifications” on their body. Enablecode does not look at a person’s disability, but looks at that person’s talent.
And results has been great for Enablecode. The business has achieved certain successes since its establishment. Besides the obvious results including sophisticated mobile applications or unique graphic designs created by the staff of Enablecode, the company also has a slot on national television, which helps bring the concept to even more people. Hopefully, through this national broadcast, many households with disabilities will be empowered and have more confidence to follow their dreams despite all odds.
Noir: Fine dining like the blind
At Noir, there is nothing separating those that can and can’t see. Upon entering, you’ll be taken to your table by staff who are visually impaired. Then, you will enjoy a meal completely immersed in the darkness. The menu is written in Braille, making the first time customers come here to be surprised. However, most people who have been to Noir are satisfied, not only because of good food, but also because of a valuable experience. From start to end, dinners experience the life of someone who is visually impaired, thus, understanding them a little bit better.
Noir has opened another career path for the blind and visually impaired. Without this new choice, they would have no other choice but to work in the massage centers in the narrow alleys of Sai Gon. By giving them responsibility with the guests, Noir has improved the confidence and career trajectory of many blind people in HCMC.
Vulcan wants to join the movement!
Our upcoming crowdfunding campaign UpLift aims to bring 30 prosthetic arms, designed and made by Vulcan Augmetics, to 30 amputees in Vietnam. But it doesn’t end there.
By partnering with strategic businesses, these amputees will be put in the workforce, earning a good pay to support themselves and their families. Check out the campaign and sign up to our emailing list here.