Unemployment of People with Disabilities: Bad for Us All

Enablecode employs people with disabilities and we encourage other businesses to do the same. But why is employment of persons with disabilities so important? The answer is that it can help reduce poverty.


People with disabilities are the largest minority in the world. Almost everyone knows at least one person with a disability. Unfortunately, though, people with disabilities are overrepresented among the poor. While 10 percent of the world’s population lives with a disability, 20 percent of the world’s poor does.

Here in Vietnam, 15 percent of the population has a disability. If you are a disabled person living in Vietnam, you are more than three times as likely as others to be unemployed. As a result, the majority of Vietnamese people with disabilities live in poverty.

IMG_0576One of the main reasons for the high level of disability unemployment in Vietnam is the lack of awareness about disability. Many Vietnamese people believe that people with disabilities cannot live independently and will always need help and assistance from others. Many parents of children with disabilities therefore keep their children at home, causing them to never get the education required to find good employment.

Unemployment doesn’t only affect the person with the disability, though. It affects their entire community. If a person with a disability does not work, he or she does not have any income. Financial resources of the family need to be used to support that person and some family members will probably spend a large amount of that time caring for him or her. As a result, the entire family is less productive. Indeed, according to the International Labour Organization (ILO), in low- and middle-income countries, the exclusion of people with disabilities from the job market can cost economies up to 7% of GDP.

IMG_5264If a person with a disability is able to get a good job, however, this can empower their entire community. When a person with a disability is able to earn their own income, he or she does not need to depend on family members anymore.  Consequently, family members can be more productive as well. Inclusion of people with disabilities in the job market thus positively affects entire communities and is crucial in reducing poverty. It gives families greater spending power, thereby significantly benefiting the economy.

Right now, there is a vicious circle between disability and poverty. Due to a lack of awareness, many Vietnamese people with disabilities are excluded from practices and activities that are considered normal for others, such as education, employment and social events. This exclusion from daily activities leads to poverty, which then leads to further exclusion and so on.

By raising awareness for disability issues and by teaching society that people with disabilities are in fact able to learn and able to work, we can break this cycle. Getting people with disabilities into employment is an important step toward reducing poverty and inequality, not only for people with disabilities themselves, but for society as a whole. As a quickly developing country, Vietnam needs to mobilize its human resources of which people with disabilities are a very important part.


Enablecode is a social enterprise based in Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam, which employs programmers and designers with physical disabilities. Do you want to help Enablecode spread awareness about people with disabilities in the developing world or do you want to receive more information about our services? Register to our website here.

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