Senegal: Decent work for Boubacar

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Boubacar, 33, had polio as a child and now needs crutches to walk. Originally from Casamance in southern Senegal, Boubacar moved to Dakar after completing his baccalaureate, leaving his mother, six brothers, and sisters behind. After studying public law and receiving a master’s degree in migration rights, he started looking for work, but the discrimination he faced because of his disability made it difficult. 

“I wrote to a major international organization,” he explains. “They offered me an interview for an internship, but after we met and they saw I was disabled, I never heard from them again.”

Boubacar's story exemplifies the discrimination qualified people with disabilities face when looking for work. To combat this discrimination, Handicap International created an inclusive employment project for people with disabilities in the Dakar region of Senegal. As part of this project, Boubacar receives support from a social worker and an employment advisor. Our teams assessed his skills, helped him create a career plan, and recommended courses he could take to improve in skills he lacked.

Through the support of our project, Boubacar landed a job offer from the Ministry for African Integration, NEPAD, and Good Governance! Now a legal advisor, Boubacar represents the department on the issues of economic and social inclusion, migration, and the environment.

“I’m not affected by my disability at all. In this job, it isn’t a factor,” he says. “My colleagues respect me and I have a really good relationship with them.”

Although the job itself is a good match for his legal skills and career ambitions, there are a few changes that need to be made. For example, his desk is on the fourth floor which is accessible via an elevator, while the rest of his colleagues work on the third floor.

Boubacar is happy in his current job, but eventually would like to fulfill a career goal to work for an international organization in the field of migration.

Inclusive employment project – Dakar region

People with disabilities commonly encounter significant barriers, including discrimination and inaccessible workplaces, when trying to obtain waged employment. Handicap International works to overcome these challenges by partnering with local employers and job placement services and providing employees with disability support services.   

In the Dakar region of Senegal, Handicap International helps people with disabilities find salaried employment. Focused on personalized support, training, and advocacy work, the project works to employ more than 500 people in the workplace with the support from more than 90 employers and a dozen organizations in the area.