Mozambique: Getting People with Disabilities into the Workforce

In the extremely poor, rural areas in Mozambique where Handicap International works, people with disabilities often leave school very early and fail to find employment. Others, disabled by accidents with landmines in the formerly war-torn country, lost their ability to perform physically intensive work like farming. A new Handicap International project is changing that, by helping put people with disabilities into the workforce. 

Miami is a small company in the town of Nhamatanda, Mozambique, that builds and repairs metal equipment. For three months, the company’s owner, Artur Nores, trained nine people with disabilities. The apprentices learned very practical skills: how to build cooking grills, and repair ovens and refrigerators. The training was a success, and Nores plans to farm out some of his extra work to them. Five of apprentices teamed up to create their own business, and Handicap International is helping them get started.

A few miles down the road, Mandeka Manuel, a woman with a hearing disability, recently found a job. When she finished her training in horticulture she was contacted by a private school in Canhandula to look after a small holding that supplies the school canteen.

Now ten previously unemployed people with disabilities are becoming financially independent. 

Over an 18-month period, 130 Handicap International trainees received vocational training in accredited centers. They were trained in simple, practical skills that meet local economic needs: horticulture, carpentry, cattle breeding, electronics repair, sewing, metal work, and craft work. The training is helping them to earn livelihoods, and that benefits their families.

Handicap International is also helping people with disabilities set up small businesses. “Let’s take the example of a small-scale farmer whose right leg has been amputated, and who earns his own livelihood,” says Robert Burny, Handicap International Program Coordinator. “He works a patch of land and sells what he produces to feed his family. He wants to increase the amount he produces and to sell his fruit and vegetables at the market in the neighboring town, but he needs tools and money for transportation to do that. We discuss his needs with him, and provide him with up to $160 to expand his business.”