Recently, attention has been paid to the hurdles faced by disabled people, especially the blind, in finding suitable jobs. Some organisations and elements within the public sector are now poised to take action on this issue.
Sian Viboth (pictured), who studied at the Royal University of Administration, has been blind since birth. Since graduating with a bachelor’s degree in 2010, he has yet to find a job, but the government has intervened on his behalf and he has been chosen to receive the training necessary to become a public-affairs officer.
Sian Viboth acknowledges that everyone, disabled or otherwise, can face challenges when looking for a job if they don’t meet a potential employer’s qualifications.
“I don’t want to be prioritised in the job market. I just hope that disabled people will have equal access to jobs and apply for those jobs on an equal playing field,” he says.
Neang Phalla, facilitator of the NGO Krousa Thmey’s education programme for blind children, explains that in today’s difficult job market, unemployment is affecting people across the board.
“Some organisations provide great opportunities for disabled people, but the disabled people may not have the specific skills to do the job properly,” she says.
“What we do is help them with this by giving them a good education and basic knowledge.”
A law adopted in 2009 states that disabled people have a special right to reap the benefits of a fair job market, as society often discriminates against them in employment, as well as with regard to health and educational services.
Sian Viboth, however, admits that he has not read the law since the new changes were adopted.
He adds that although the law has good intentions, issues have arisen with enforcing it.
“Disabled people have to strengthen our abilities because, although some employers allow us to work for them, we are not as qualified as we could be.
“Otherwise, who will be willing to pay for us?”
Neang Phalla confirms that her programme has educated a generation of blind students.
She hopes that in the future, her students will gain more traditional job training, the lack of which is causing them difficulties in the job market.