Living with a disability in Tunisia is incredibly difficult and restrictive. Attitudes and ‘certainties’ people have about how you can – or can’t – be included in and contribute to society must be fought against. This is a movement ACT is keen to be a part of.
ACT Project Staff Dering has a passion for seeing people with disabilities in Tunisia welcomed and encouraged into the workplace. He has been involved in ACT projects seeking to bring such transformation across the country since he joined.
Through this work, he met Amar.
Amar is a young man with disabilities, living in a farming community in Medenine. ACT first crossed paths with him in early 2018, when running a livestock rearing project. Through this, we wanted to help to address family and community attitudes to people with disabilities.
His story, which he shared with Dering, is one of just what can be possible with a little support and encouragement, and a little outside-the-box thinking by one young man and his father.
When I was coming back from Medenine after a recent visit to Tozeur, I was encouraged by an example of transformation in ACT’s Professional Inclusion Project.
Amar lives on a farm in the area around Medenine. In February 2018 ACT ran a sheep breeding project for people with disabilities, which he took part in. ACT followed up a lot of times. I went there and was encouraged to see what a great job he’d done.
One and a half years later, I went to his house. It was wonderful to see that he still has this sheep. For me, this means the project is sustainable. They continue to be fruitful.
On a recent visit to the centre, the UTAIM director Mr. Abdel Majid told me [Amar] now has a job. “How?” I asked, as it is very unusual for people with disabilities to be able to have ‘normal’ jobs.
His father was touched and very motivated by our words and encouragement. Before the livestock project, he’d never thought that Amar could have a job outside the farm.
Amar now has a job working in a restaurant; it’s a small job, and he’s only been there for three or four months. He does some cooking and some cleaning. He loves it!
I have been able to visit the restaurant, and to greet the owners who are responsible for giving Amar this opportunity. They say he’s very gentile guy, very polite. They’re very satisfied with him there.
His father is a very nice man. He gives a lot of information and has a lot of confidence in his son. His father believes in him. In the beginning, his father drove him by motorcycle ever morning and afternoon in order to drop him off at the job. Now, his father lets Amar take the motorcycle himself.
I can see the confidence the father has in Amar; it is not very common. Normally the father would protect the son or would want him to stay at the farm. This is the opposite.
Amar has been given wings and now he flies alone. It’s incredible.
- Sheep-rearing project, in 2018.
- Amar and ACT in action!
- Amar, his father and the restaurant owner in front of his work place.
- Amar and ACT, reunited.
- Eyes forward, everyone!
- A final group shot.
In 2018, a sheep cost 1500 TND. With this, Amar and his family’s reality have been transformed and this young man has been offered a brighter future.
“Through the partnership with UTAIM Medenine we’ve gotten a great result two years on,” says Dering. “I think it’s a great local transformation. Maybe in the future we can do this more on a national level.”
We are excited to see the long-term transformation that is to come from ACT’s current Professional Inclusion Project for Adults with Disabilities.