Youth, particularly youth with disabilities, struggle to obtain meaningful employment, and this situation has only been worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic. Recent statistics from the National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda (NISR 2017) place Rwanda’s overall unemployment rate at 16.7%; the rate is 18.5% of unemployment rate for persons with disabilities, and overall youth unemployment rate is even higher at 21%.
The Umurimo Kuri Bose activity will tackle barriers that hinder youth with disabilities from attaining employment opportunities, addressing both the supply and demand sides of the labor market. The activity will also bridge disability inclusion gaps by increasing employability skills, empowerment, engagement, and equity for youth with disabilities through sign language and braille training; and a comprehensive package of training modules coupled with internships placement support to provide hands-on work experience.
When asked about USAID’s commitment to inclusive education, USAID’s Mission Director in Rwanda, Leslie Marbury said:“USAID is partnering with the Government of Rwanda to equip youth with the skills they need for successful employment or self-employment, as well as to create a society in which people with disabilities participate fully."
The Umurimo Kuri Bose complements other USAID investments, including Huguka Dukore Akazi Kanoze. Positive youth development and inclusion of people with disabilities are strategic priorities through USAID’s activities in Rwanda.
Rwanda National Union for the Deaf is one of the Umurimo Kuri Bose’s four target local disabled persons organizations and will support implementation through strengthening and empowering deaf and hard of hearing persons so that they are ready to tap into available employment opportunities and services.
The Executive Director of the Rwanda National Union of the Deaf, Samuel Munana, explained that the goal is to minimise isolation and ensure that deaf and hard of hearing persons are not left behind.
USAID Umurimo Kuri Bose will support employment and economic empowerment of 1,560 youth of which 1,200 are youth with disabilities in 12 districts in Rwanda. It is implemented by Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC), in partnership with Umbrella of Organizations of People with Disabilities in the Fight against HIV and AIDS in Health Promotion (UPHLS), Akazi Kanoze Access (AKA), Rwanda Union of the Blind (RUB), Rwanda National Union of the Deaf (RNUD), and UWEZO Youth Empowerment.