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Raising awareness of persons with disability at work |16 February 2022

Raising awareness of persons with disability at work

A souvenir photograph after the meeting (Photo: Louis Toussaint)

Raising awareness of persons with disability at work was the aim of a meeting the Minister for Employment and Social Affairs, Patricia Francourt, had yesterday with a group of individuals living with disability.

Member of the National Assembly, Naddy Zialor, Joel Melanie from ‘Run for the cause - Where there’s a will there’s a way’, the director for Special Employment Programmes, Marinette Freminot and Veronique Bresson also attended the meeting.

During that meeting Mr Melanie told the story of his journey leading towards ‘Run for the cause - Where there’s a will there’s a way’.

“I wanted to do a project to help different associations and it was materialised last year. But there was still demand for such run. I was already planning a run for two people from Anse Royale and now Shamira Sally has been added to the project for her to complete her studies and also to get a prosthetic arm. The run will be held on February 27 starting from Stad Popiler to Providence and back to Victoria. From Victoria, I will head towards Perseverance – La Retraite and complete the run in Glacis where Shamira lives. In our society, if we all pitch in, we will be able to help others mainly people with other abilities.”

Shamira Ally has been victim to some health complications and lost her right arm while studying in Malaysia.

“I deeply thank Mr Melanie for the project he is undertaking for me. I went through a lot and the things that hurt the most was when I came back. I joined the company that used to employ me before going for further studies and one day when I entered the room, someone said ‘be oli lebra’ and others started laughing. I was deeply affected by that and I stopped working there. I did not want to stay home as I was getting emotionally affected. I contacted different places to work and through the Ministry of Employment I was able to get a job. Then I joined MCB where I got the opportunity to grow.

Ima Pillay started working at the age of 18 and has been working for more than 25 years in the private sector then joined the Ministry of Health.

“I did have some difficulties and had to explain to my co-workers. So far I am doing ok at work and I am being looked at well. I feel that my needs as a disabled are being met. My only recommendation is to have flexible time.”

Marie-Lise Morel works at SPTC. She starts work at 11am and so far enjoys what she is doing.

“I love working and love cleaning my buses. Mon debrouye e mon osi travay overtime. Mon kontan en kantite.”

Bernard Larue works for the Ministry of Local Government and Community Affairs. “I now love my job. Before there were some issues but the President told me to raise my voice, which I did and now things are ok. I do not let myself get bullied and my main recommendation would be for our salary to be looked into.”

MNA Zialor thanked Minister Francourt for such an initiative and also thanked Mr Melanie for helping people in Seychelles. “It is an opportune time for Seychelles to turn a new page. It is time to rethink the way we act and also the way we think. As long as we have a positive mindset, we people with other capabilities will reach our goal. Nothing is impossible. I am happy to see around the table a group of people who are also trying their best and be part of the community. I make an appeal to all who can make a difference in the life of a disabled person, please let’s give a hand! I appreciate the effort of the Ministry of Employment for helping and giving the opportunity to us disabled to work!”

Minister Francourt ended the meeting by commending the efforts of all the people with disability but with special abilities. “Together with my ministry, I will give the support to all new upcoming laws. I am happy to see that you are also not scared to make your voice heard, but we still need more awareness for Seychelles to talk about the disabled at work. They need to have the same opportunity at work and when I hear you talking about your experiences at work, I do not see victims, I see strong people who are ready to contribute towards our society. Today I would urge companies, organisations to value and welcome the disabled at work as they bring a unique value to the company/establishment. We ask the society to have respect towards everyone and we help each other.”

This meeting is the first of its kind and Minister Francourt and her team will keep working towards a more inclusive society among the establishments/organisations.


Vidya Gappy

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