FACT SHEET: Support for Persons with Disabilities

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A young man in a wheelchair accessing a sidewalk without a wheelchair ramp
USAID supports equal rights and access to employment and education for over 137k people living w/ disabilities in Albania.
Albanian Disability Rights Foundation

CURRENT PROJECT

Name: Economic Empowerment of People with Disabilities
Duration: September 2010 – November 2019
Budget: $1,109,860
Implementer: Albanian Disability Rights Foundation

 

According to official Government of Albania statistics, there are over 143,000 officially registered people with disabilities in Albania. Disabled Albanians experience high levels of unemployment, often lack access to basic medical and education opportunities, and suffer stigmatization and isolation from society. Albanian legislation provides for protection of human rights, but this has done little to integrate people with disabilities into Albanian society.

The Albanian Disability Rights Foundation (ADRF) focuses on empowering individuals with disabilities and their family members, providing technical and policy-level advice, and raising public awareness. ADRF operates Albania’s only wheelchair production factory to address the needs of the estimated 7,000 people with mobility needs. ADRF currently operates Elbasan, Shkodra, Tirana, and Vlora.

PROGRAM AREAS

EMPLOYMENT

Although Albania has a law “On Promotion of Employment of Persons with Disabilities,” that defines a quota on employing people with disabilities, i.e. four percent of all employees, and has adopted the law “On Protection from Discrimination,” there are still very low figures on persons with disabilities who are employed. Through ADRF, USAID is supporting a program to increase job opportunities for persons with disabilities. ADRF is providing employment support and guidance for people with disabilities, and is working with private companies and the Government to improve their capacities to accommodate people with disabilities in the workplace.

ADVOCACY/LEGISLATION

The project monitors the implementation of the National Disability Action Plan 2016-2020 and advocates for the rights of people with disabilities to accessibility, access to mainstream education and employment. The project also seeks to increase awareness among the stakeholders on issues relevant to social and labor integration of the disabled people and facilitates the exchange of best practices between local government, public institutions, civil society organizations, and employers.

WHEELCHAIR SERVICE PROVISION

Starting in 2004 through the Leahy War Victims Fund, USAID has provided $1.4 million in grants to ADRF’s Miresia Wheelchair Factory. To date, the factory has produced, adapted, and distributed over 3,068 wheelchairs.

RESULTS
  • As a result of ADRF’s advocacy on legislation improvement and implementation, the Albanian Parliament adopted in 2014 two legal amendments: “On aid and social services” and the “Law on Employment Promotion” to support greater inclusiveness of people with disabilities in the workforce.
  • Published the first assessment of Albania’s employment policies and legislation, including measuring the level of implementation in both the public and private sectors.
  • Developed specialized coaching program on employment for job-seeking persons with disabilities. To date, 482 disabled people have benefitted. In partnership with the National Employment Service and its Regional Labor Offices, USAID and ADRF are helping them to mainstream this program throughout the system.
  • Assisted 127 job seeking people with disabilities to become employed/self-employed or find internship opportunities, and 159 to attended vocational training courses.

Last updated: July 26, 2018

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