Pandemic Puts People with Intellectual Disabilities Out of WorkBy Andrea Villar | Thu, 08/05/2021 - 12:00
While the effects of the pandemic were felt across all industries and businesses regardless of size, vulnerable groups within them were also hit by the crisis. In Mexico alone, 31 percent of people with intellectual disabilities lost their jobs due to layoffs or business closures, revealed a study by the Mexican Confederation of Organizations in Favor of People with Intellectual Disabilities (CONFE).
In Mexico, private companies and governments account for 68 percent of the workplaces occupied by people with intellectual disabilities, with 46 percent and 22 percent respectively. Family businesses offer 14 percent, while the organizations for and by persons with disabilities 9 percent.
“People with disabilities around the world are at a higher risk of living in poverty, because of lack of education, because they do not have a job or because they and their family members lost their jobs,” the study says. “People living in poverty are also at risk of acquiring a disability because they lack financial resources and medical support.”
Only the governments of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile and Mexico increased scholarships and financial support for people with disabilities during the pandemic, according to the study. In Mexico, the government gave financial aid cards and grocery assistance to people with disabilities who got infected with COVID-19. Moreover, the country was one of the most informative about the pandemic. However, respondents said authorities failed to make that information available in accessible formats, meaning it used words that were difficult to understand or internet access was needed to read it.
The human rights of persons with disabilities were also violated in the handling of the pandemic. During the crisis, three out of 10 people surveyed said that their rights to equality, health and education were infringed. The countries with the most human rights violations of persons with intellectual disabilities were Paraguay, Peru and Bolivia, while the countries with the fewest violations were Mexico, Uruguay and Brazil.
CONFE's inclusion program help those who lost their jobs during the pandemic fund a new one. Carmen Jordán, Director of the confederation's Labor Inclusion Agency, told Animal Político that finding new jobs for people with intellectual disabilities is no easy task, however, some retired people have been able to access credit and buy a flat or a car.