Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Today’s Video: Empowerment Through Employment

Note: In honor of the International Day for Persons with Disabilities, which was held on December 3rd, this week's daily video segment will focus on the disabled community throughout Latin America.

Telethons were recently held in several Latin American countries including Chile where over $40 million was raised for the medical treatment and rehabilitation of thousands of disabled children.

The 27–hour event was presented by "Sabado Gigante" host Don Francisco and included appearances by musicians such as Diego Torres and Juanes as well as President Sebastián Piñera. (Piñera’s speech was briefly interrupted by a group of student protesters calling for educational reforms and a greater role by the state in caring for the disabled).

It’s up for debate whether the “Teletón” serves a useful purpose or is degrading towards the disabled. Yet an appearance by the head of one Chile’s National Disabled Service called much-needed attention to a problem facing millions of disabled individuals throughout the Americas: the lack of employment opportunities.

According to María Ximena Rivas, over two-thirds of employable disabled Chileans (nearly 1.4 million people) are without work. Rivas urged the government to make changes to existing labor laws in order to prevent discrimination and mistreatment against disabled individuals.

The following video shows the benefits that come from giving disabled individuals the opportunity to work. This 2006 clip from a report on Chile’s TVN shows how a blind impresario hired 25 mentally disabled individuals to work at his small factory:

Video Source – YouTube via jfvslice

Online Sources – El Mundo, Univision.com, La Republica

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