In the ever-changing world of businesses, a powerful story of inclusivity is shaping how companies work, creating environments where diversity flourishes. On this International Day of Persons with Disabilities, let’s explore how inclusive business practices, through the experiences of individuals overcoming challenges, reveal the untapped potential in a diverse workforce.
At the core of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs), Ahmed Hamza, born with a motor disability and having lost four fingers, undertook an educational journey from Syria to Türkiye. His diverse professional roles, such as working as an accountant and administrator, provided him with a comprehensive understanding of business operations.
Facing challenges in previous workplaces, where employers often failed to recognize the unique strengths that individuals with disabilities bring to the table, Ahmed joined his family’s business, Hala Style specializing in sewing wedding suits, he found a supportive environment within the family business.
Emphasizing the importance of workplace accessibility, Ahmed highlights the simplicity and cost-effectiveness of workplace accommodations, viewing them as tools to empower individuals with disabilities to work independently and preserve their self-reliance without requiring continuous assistance.
He advocates for a supportive society where civil organizations play a crucial role in raising awareness and championing the employment of people with disabilities.
Turning our attention to Hisham, a Syrian refugee entrepreneur advocating for inclusivity through his business, Zenbarakji Sweets, specializing in the sweets’ industry. Hisham underscores the significant role of civil society organizations and governmental bodies in incentivizing companies to prioritize hiring individuals with disabilities. Financial support, such as salaries or social and health insurance, can facilitate the integration of individuals with disabilities into the formal job market.
Hisham recommends emphasizing the stories of individuals with disabilities behind the ventures. This personal connection fosters a sense of support and encourages consumers to actively prioritize products or services offered by businesses run by or employing individuals with disabilities.
Sidal Cosmetics, owned by Mrs. Wafaa, is a refugee and women-owned beauty center where individuals with disabilities, like Sultana, find not just employment but a supportive environment. Sultana, despite her disability, actively contributes to the workforce, challenging common perceptions and turning disabilities into unique advantages that contribute to the vibrant tapestry of a diverse and inclusive society. Sultana faced exploitation and lower wages due to stereotypes surrounding her disability in previous workplaces due to her disability, highlighting the need for increased awareness and advocacy to protect the rights of individuals with disabilities in the workplace.
In conclusion, inclusivity is not just a social responsibility but a pathway to success for individuals and the community as a whole. By actively incorporating inclusive practices that prioritize job creation in SMEs, businesses can unlock the full potential of their workforce, contributing to a more inclusive and thriving future for the entire community.
Together, we can build a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive future for all.