Relationship between social environment of blind persons and their desire to work : Lusaka and Ndola districts

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Mulenga, Paul
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The purpose of this study was to investigate whether social environment of a blind person has an effect on his/her desire to work. This study also investigated whether self-esteem and low vocational training of a blind person have an effect on his/her desire to work.A sample size of 80 visually impaired aduhs (20 employed females, 20 unemployed females, 20 employed males and 20 unemployed males) was selected from Ndola and Lusaka districts to participate in the study. These selected respondents had the required characteristics of the study. To select the required sample size, purposive or judgemental sampling method was employed.To collect information from the respondents, two sets of questionnaires were designed. One set for respondents in employment and another set for respondents not in employment. The questionnaire for the respondents in employment contained 16 items of open-ended questions. While the questionnaire for those not in employments also contained 16 items of open ended questions. Data was analysed by describing and explaining the responses from the respondents using simple tables, graphs and percentages.The study revealed that social environmental factors such as negative attitudes, prejudice and discrimination perpetuated by employers, sighted co-workers and community, though not directly influential to their desire to work largely limit the blind persons' ability to obtain and retain employment The study has also showed that the blind persons are employed by government and mainly in low paying jobs. The majority of these blind employed people are confined to switchboard telephone operating and the rate of employment per year was minute. The study revealed that blind persons have low self-esteem arising from factors such as over protection from parents and community, stressing environments and failure to accept the disability. The results of the study further indicated that low self-esteem was in some ways related to their desire to seek employment The results also suggested that vocational training programmes offered to persons, though not directly influential to their desire to work largely hinder their ability to seek employment. In accordance with the findings of the study, the following are some of the recommendations suggested to the Government of Zambia to help create user-friendly social environment that could help in enhancing blind persons' desire to work.a.The Government, NGOs and Organisations of blind persons should take actions to raise awareness in society about persons with visual impairment, their rights, their needs, their potential and their contribution to society to overcome negative attitudes, prejudice and discrimination. b.The Government should come up with a deliberate policy on the employment of blind Persons and other disabled persons. A statutory instrument must be put in place to Compel the private sector to include disability issues in their work policy and those sectors employing the persons with disabilities should enjoy tax rebate. c. Persons with disabilities should be involved in political offices to create positive role models for other persons with disabilities and to raise awareness among society about their potential. Issues related to the disable population would be best presented through persons with disability. The President should deliberately nominate at least two people with disabilities as members of Parliament.
Blind -- Employment , Blind -- Social conditions , Blind -- Education