Jobseekers with disabilities rising above discrimination in Bali

Cai’s new job gives him hope for his future

Cai loves the prospect of preparing to go to work each day at Rumah Sanur, earning an income and saving for his future.

Through PUSPADI Bali’s Soft and Hard Skills Training Program, Cai initially secured an internship at Rumah Sanur helping their IT staff with web design projects. His diligence, keen interest and skills caught their attention and before his graduation, he was offered a job.

“I’m really happy now that I’ve graduated and because of this program, I’ve been able to find work,” Cai said. “I’m currently living with my parents but now I’ve got a job at Rumah Sanur, I’m planning to find my own place to rent and live independently, while saving for my future.”

Cai is loving his new job in IT at Rumah Sanur.

Why do we need a Soft & Hard Skills Training Program?

Cai was one of 11 people with disabilities from across Bali and East Indonesia who took part in our 3-month skills training program, where they did professional and personal development sessions, including on leadership, improving their English, computer training, public speaking and building their resumes. 

All had a willingness to work and unique skill set but had previously been denied jobs, training and educational opportunities in Bali because employers judged them on their disability rather than their ability – and how wrong they were. 

In Indonesia, there are a number of laws relating to disability, including PERDA (NO. 8) in Bali, which is designed to protect the rights of people with disabilities. Furthermore, a government law requires all companies with more than a hundred employees to have a quota of 1% of staff who have a disability.

PUSPADI Bali’s Director Pak Latra and the team regularly hold advocacy meetings, like this one in Singaraja in North Bali, to bring people with disabilities, NGOs and government officials together to discuss employment and other issues impacting on this marginalised group.

They’re laws though which aren’t enforced and lead to high levels of discrimination. Through its advocacy work, PUSPADI Bali is actively fighting against discrimination and pushing draft regulations, so the PERDA law is effective and advances the rights of people with disabilities.  

The NGO knew that it needed to do more alongside providing mobility aids, rehabilitation and its advocacy work – and so it began its skills training program, enabling participants to rise up and succeed. 

The SHST participants finding their voice and confidence in the public speaking workshop.

Eka sees herself in a new light after completing the program

Eka, one of our Soft and Hard Skill Training graduates, had been struggling with low self-esteem because of discrimination she had experienced when she lost her lower right arm after a motorbike accident. Her uncertainty dissipated though as she moved through the program and started her internship at Amiga, which designs, produces and sells resort-wear fashion in Bali.

“I’ve really liked the internship and the program and before I started it, I lacked confidence, so I’d always wear a jacket when I go outside but since being part of this program, I don’t use the jacket anymore,” Eka said. “I feel more confident.”

She adds, “now, I don’t care anymore about other’s opinions when they only see me with one hand because now, I feel proud of what I have done.”

Eka sifting through Amiga’s clothes to organise barcodes and document them in their database on the computer.

Employers in Bali realising the benefits of including people with disabilities

Globally, there’s an estimated one billion people living with a disability – and 80% are of working age but are frequently denied their access to work, study and good health care.

PUSPADI Bali’s skills training program is a step forward in reducing the attitudinal and physical barriers facing people with disabilities in Bali and East Indonesia.

Amiga Owner Ami Zijta took on Eka as an intern because she wanted to find a way to give back and help others acquire skills in business management. 

SHST graduate Eka (right) enjoys learning about the business side from Amiga owner Ami Zijta.

“Amiga has a main office where we connect and correspond with all of our stakeholders and we sell to various hotels in Bali, so Era is gaining valuable leadership skills as well as learning how to interact with others,” she said. 

The program and its internships have opened career opportunities for the graduates, that they never thought possible before.

It’s challenging entrenched stigmas about disability and encouraging employers to hire more people with disabilities based on their ability – as well as to invest in the funding and resources needed to make workplaces more inclusive and accessible.

New direction for Panji

Panji makes a range of coffees and drinks professionally after his internship at Rumah Sanur.

For Panji, his horizons have broadened after completing the SHST program and a barista internship at Kopi Kultur at Rumah Sanur, where he learnt to make various types of coffees and drinks, professionally. Previously, he had never had such an opportunity and often stayed at home or played with his friends.

He explains, “I’ve had so many new experiences here, like, meeting new friends and how to make coffees, like espressos, and use the machine – this program training has been very good and has really helped me to live independently, as well as learn new things about my interests.”

The experience has left Panji wanting to take on more and he now hopes to study history.

It’s not only the SHST graduates who gain a lot from this experience but employers as well. Through our interns, the employers are seeing that people with disabilities equally have a high work ethic, range of skills and contribute in diverse ways, which boosts inclusion and equality in the workforce.

“During Panji’s time with us, the important thing I have learnt is about motivations of people with disabilities because they’re able and can move forward to learn new things and experiences,” Riesky, Kopi Kultur barista said. “There are many kinds of experiences that Panji, the team and I have shared over coffee, starting from small things, like serving the coffee and sharing stories with friends.”

Era experiences a change within from skills training program

Era (right) enjoying her time at PAUD Central Bali School, under the guidance of Ibu Amelia (left).

 AA SG Ratih Amelia who oversees PAUD Central Bali School has seen how Era’s involvement in the kitchen and helping teachers in the classroom, has had a positive, wide-reaching ripple effect.

“I think now we must make change for people with disabilities and help them to get a new life and experience. For the children here too, it is good for them to get to know people from all backgrounds that come here,” Ibu Ratih Amelia said.

Era’s discovering a sense of purpose and belonging through new friends, training and work experience opportunities. Low feelings of self-worth and shame have been eroding and replaced by a confident, expressive, happy, young woman, who’s making plans for her future.

“Why I wanted to join this program, was to find out the truth about myself and I also want to be respected in society, so everyone will look at me like other people,” Era said. “Before, I stayed in my home and wasn’t brave enough to go outside but after PUSPADI Bali asked me to join the training, I felt more confident and now have great spirit.”

Era gaining valuable skills in the kitchen and the classroom during her internship at PAUD Central Bali School.

The future is theirs: employers need to tap into the expertise of people with disabilities

When they now think about what they really want to do with their lives, it’s with hope and anticipation. They’re no longer letting others reduce their dreams or goals.

“Now I’ve finished the training here, I will go back home first and take some rest and then send my CV through to DNetwork, as well as look on the internet and ask my friends about job vacancies in administration,” Eka said.

Our Australian volunteer Stephanie with the proud graduates of the SHST program.

PUSPADI Bali is working with our partner organisations, like DNetwork, to help the graduates secure jobs which align with their skills. Once they’re employed, we’ll also do follow up checks with them to ensure they’re being treated fairly and equally in the workplace.

Thanks to the support of the Australian Volunteers Program and the Planet Wheeler Foundation, this year, we were able to run this vital skills training program for job seekers with disabilities in Bali. We also appreciate the support of all the employers who provided internships, DNetwork, the Inspirasia Foundation and the Annika Linden Centre.