Volunteers with disabilities gain work experience

VDPA volunteers Alfred Tarey (l) and Alon Alvea (r)

The Vanuatu Disability Promotion & Advocacy Association (VDPA) identified that one of the issues that People Living With Disabilities (PLWD) had to contend with was the fact that those who had no previous work experience, frequently struggled to enter the workforce.

To help improve employment opportunities for PLWD, VDPA applied for and received financial support from the Disabled Peoples Organisation (DPO) Fund through the Pacific Disability Forum.

As a result, two local volunteers with disabilities, have started work experience at the VDPA office for two days a week. The duo are Alfred Tarey and Alon Alvea.

“This is an important project,” VDPA National Coordinator, Nelly Caleb told Daily Post. “The six months work experience at VDPA will improve the volunteers’ skills and build their confidence, so in future they can easily find jobs.”

According to Elizabeth Green, an Australian volunteer funded by the Australian Government placed at VDPA, to build their capacity, these two volunteers will work with VDPA staff on a number of projects. “One of the projects is called the ‘Schools Disability Awareness Raising’ project,” Green stated.

“Tarey and Alvea will join other staff to raise awareness at local schools, on the right to education for people with disabilities to participate in everyday life.

“They will be attending workshops run by partner organisations to ensure the voices of people with disabilities are heard and included.

“They will also help to audit the accessibility of public buildings in Luganville as well as assist office staff in running the office. All of these activities which will help them gain invaluable work experience.”

As one of the volunteers on the program is a wheelchair user, for him to fully use the VDPA office, accessibility to the bathroom needed to be improved. Handrails needed to be installed in the bathroom to ensure he and other members can use mobility devices to access the bathroom easily.

To contribute to improving the accessibility of the VDPA bathroom, Santo Hardware donated materials that were used to install assistive handrails in the VDPA bathroom. These were installed by Mr. Peter Green, Ms.Green’s partner.

The two handrails installed in the office bathroom will not only help the volunteers but also visitors with disabilities, the elderly, pregnant women and sick people.

VDPA would like to acknowledge Santo Hardware for donating the materials that were used to make the assistive handrails, Mr. Green for installing them and the Australian Government for the provision of an Australian volunteer in VDPA.

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