Most Special needs centers welcome teenagers and adults. For these, most centers have workshops in different crafts and manual work (woodwork, embroidery, sewing…). Students on reaching the age of 30 – the age of government supported provision – either leave and are looked after by their families or remain in the center as many recognize that without the centers both families and students would struggle. A very small number will find employment. A number of small scale pilot projects in professional integration are running in Tunisia but they are few and lack of networking means few people know about them.
Who are the beneficiaries of the project?
People with special needs in centers, 15 years and older. Staff of special needs centers. Families and communities of people with special needs.
What would the aims of the project be?
- To advocate for the rights of people with special needs to be trained and to have remunerated employment.
- To advocate for the rights of people with special needs who do not have the capacity to work independently in an integrated professional context to receive an allowance for the work they do in the special needs centers.
- To encourage networking between Tunisian associations that have experience of professional integration.
- To encourage the development of strategies to facilitate professional integration.
How are they benefiting and where do you see evidence of transformation?
People with special needs would benefit by being valued as individuals and being given rightful employment. Staff in special needs centers would benefit by developing a better vision for their students and seeing their work bearing fruit. Parents and the local communities would be transformed through seeing people with disabilities as individuals, rather than as the sum of their disabilities, able to contribute to family and community life by being rightfully employed.
How would we like to see the project develop in the next few months?
- Create a forum for exchange of experiences with those involved in pilot professional integration projects to build up a picture of the challenges to PI and share the solutions that have been found.
- Train individuals in Human and Disability Rights worldwide and within Tunisian law.
- Work with centers and associations to identify the challenges to PI in their localities and research possible solutions (drawing on 1.)
- Work through centers and association to advocate with parents and local communities for the rights of people with disabilities.
- Help centers and association to identify products that their students can be trained to produce to a high standard.
- Help centers and associations to identified positive outlets for the work of their students.