How technology can provide greater opportunities for people with disabilities

New technology can be an opportunity or a challenge for people with disabilities. An interactive discussion conducted by the ILO and its social partners explored possibilities offered by the technology in providing an equal employment opportunity.

News | Jakarta, Indonesia | 09 September 2019
Technology can help people with disabilities realizing their dreams
Responding to the rapid changing in the world of and to the future of work, the ILO in collaboration with Difalink (formerly known as Diffago) and Dare Foundation —organizations deal with disability issues, with support from the Catholic University of Atma Jaya, conducted an interactive talkshow, “Future of Work, No One Left Behind”, to raise the awareness about the importance of inclusivity of people with disabilities in the world of work and how technology could provide a greater opportunity for people with disabilities.

Hastu Wijayasri, a young student and developer, emphasized enormous opportunities brought by the technological advancement to the lives of people with disabilities, including employment opportunities. “The technology provides us with more opportunities and chances. We just have to open yourself to all possibilities,” she said through her sign language interpreter.

The technology provides us with more opportunities and chances. We just have to open yourself to all possibilities."

Hastu Wijayasri, a young student and developer
Hastu shared her life journey as an inspiration. She first thought that she could not become a developer because of her hearing impaired. However, when she joined the Indonesian Google Developer Student Club, she further learnt about Android technology and together with her working partner has developed an application named Sukacare to help connecting the blind with sight volunteers.

“I have to learn and work four times harder. Just never give up,” she encouraged the participants. She added that she would continue to improve the application to help facilitating people with vision and speech impairments. “I aspire to start my own start-up company in the future,” she added.

The technology has helped us accelerating the work process and has helped us expanding our networks and markets. As a result, the company can employ more people with disabilities and can channel more products of people with disabilities to wider buyers and markets. It has been part of our daily business."

Mardea Mumpuni, Digital&Marketing Collaboration of Precious One
Responding to the inspiring story of Hastu, Tendy Gunawan, the ILO’s programme officer for equal opportunity for disabilities, reminded the participants that digitalization could be considered as challenges or opportunities depending on self-perception. “With the technology devices, people with disabilities can improve and optimize their daily functioning. For example we can work from home or anywhere convenient by using a technology. This is an opportunity for people with disabilities as most transportation infrastructure in the country is still a barrier for people with disabilities to go to work,” Tendy said.

Meanwhile, Mardea Mumpuni, Digital&Marketing Collaboration of Precious One, stated that the technology has help improving the performance of Precious One, a social company employing and supporting workers with disabilities and channeling products produced by people with disabilities.

“The technology has helped us accelerating the work process and has helped us expanding our networks and markets. As a result, the company can employ more people with disabilities and can channel more products of people with disabilities to wider buyers and markets. It has been part of our daily business’ lives,” she said.

With the technology devices, people with disabilities can improve and optimize their daily functioning."

Tendy Gunawan, the ILO’s programme officer for equal opportunity for disabilities
The interactive talkshow concluded with the notions that the technology advancement was unavoidable and all of us, including people with disabilities, should take the advantage by creating new opportunities. “We need to be motivated and to be adaptable to changes. The new technology can create greater opportunities if we really embrace it. Therefore, as people with disabilities, we need to be opened, to believe that we are able to contribute to the society and to continue showing our capabilities,” said Dimas P. Muharram, Founder of Kartunet.com, as the moderator concluding the interactive talkshow.

The interactive discussion was part of the two-day inclusive job fair held at the end of August. The inclusive job fair was attended by hundreds of job seekers with disabilities and aimed to better connect companies with job seekers with disabilities.

People with disabilities still face enormous attitudinal, physical and informational barriers to equal opportunities in the world of work. The 2017 ILO data revealed that out of 22 million people with disabilities in Indonesia, around 13 million still face difficulties in finding decent jobs compared to other non-disabled workers. People with disabilities tend to work at the informal economy.