Mon. Apr 22nd, 2019

Intellectual disability: The real 'champions' have no work | Society

Intellectual disability: The real 'champions' have no work | Society



Jesús Molina would like to be a sweeper. Although his real dream is to be replenishing, just like his father and his brother. He tells it with a smile from ear to ear and shrugging his shoulders. He lowers his head, timid, as if he saw his goal far away. "Never say never," whispers Raquel Escorial. Both have intellectual disabilities. "You have to be positive," she continues, which was a replenishment for 10 years, so I could give her a few tips. He always arrived before his time. He wrote down the instructions in a notebook. "If I had doubts, I would ask," he explains.

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For a year and a half, both have been hired by the Full Inclusion Association in the framework of a program of the Madrid City Council for vulnerable people. They know that they are lucky to be part of a small group, that of those who have intellectual disabilities and have a job. They are only 19.5% of the 188,800 people between 16 and 64 years old who make up the collective, according to data from the National Institute of Statistics (INE). "We can work, although sometimes we need support," says Bryan Jesus Novoa, a companion of Jesus and Rachel.

All three live at home with their relatives. Every morning they cross Madrid by public transport to be at ten in the morning at the base of Arturo Soria. The task is extended until two in the afternoon. Half day, 627 euros. Lately they are somewhat more requested. Nothing has changed at work. The change they notice is more social. The fault is Champions, the highest grossing Spanish film of 2018, starring a basketball team whose members have intellectual disabilities.

The discourse of Jesús Vidal when collecting the Goya for the best revelation actor for his role in Javier Fesser's film he moved and stirred consciences. "Three words come to mind: inclusion, diversity, visibility," said the interpreter, who is visually impaired and gave life to one of the protagonists of the film. And he put the audience on his feet. A few days later, Bryan, Rachel and Jesus add another term to the list. Opportunity. They demand labor inclusion. "We are the same as everyone else and we want to work," says Raquel, 42, with a 33% disability. "I would ask them not to judge the first one and make contracts," adds Jesus, 26, with a disability of 72%.

Champions posed the glances on an invisible collective. "It has served so that people who do not have anyone like us in their family know what we are capable of doing," says Bryan, who is 25 years old and has a 78% disability. "This is how we make people aware that they can not get involved with us because we are the way we are. Sometimes, when I say that I am disabled, they stop talking to me, "continues Jesus.

The reality, when the lights of the red carpet are extinguished, is that they are discriminated against in access to employment. Its activity rate is 31.2% (INE, 2017). The unemployment rate of 38% (Fundación ONCE, 2016) compared to 19.5% overall that year. "Working allows them to be independent, to relate. They have different rhythms, but it does not mean they do not develop, "says Natalia Gracia, work coach for Bryan, Raquel and Jesus. "We help them think and be autonomous. All have improved a lot since the program began and have gained in self-esteem, "he says.

"In our societies they are beginning to realize the tremendous exclusion that they have implanted for a long time," he says. Catalina Devandas, special rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities at the UN. "When we talk about labor inclusion, a first requirement is to have an inclusive quality education, a pending task to be reviewed in Spain," he says, referring to the harsh report presented last year by the UN specialized committee, which concludes that the education system Spanish segregates and excludes the collective. "The work environment will never be ready until society begins to familiarize itself with people with intellectual disabilities," he adds.

In Spain, 31,600 of the approximately 36,800 people with intellectual disabilities with employment work in the service sector, compared to about 5,200 in agriculture, industry and construction, according to the INE. "The normal thing is that they are incorporated into employment in three ways: in special employment centers, where 70% of the workforce has a disability; integrated in an ordinary company but with the help of a labor integration service, and through oppositions ", explains Enrique Galván, director of Plena Inclusión, an associative movement that brings together 900 entities.

In Spain, Companies with more than 50 workers are obliged to employ 2% of persons with disabilities or contract with a special center alternative measures. In the competitive examinations, at least 7% of the vacancies must be reserved for this group. "We have advanced, but slow," says Galván, who calls for an improvement in aid. "In special centers, 100% of the social security contributions and 50% of the minimum wage are bonded, but we ask that it be extended to 65%."

The experts consulted explain that the special centers are conceived as a first step, a transition for access to ordinary employment. But it does not always happen. "It is important that the centers be open, there must be interaction with the community, they can not be ghettos," says Bernabé Blanco, president of the Business Association for Disability (AEDIS). "We ask for a law of labor inclusion", claims Pepa Torres, of the Spanish Committee of Representatives of People with Disabilities (Cermi), "To advance in equality of opportunities".

Opportunity. It is the word used by Bryan, Rachel and Jesus. The appointment with them is at eleven thirty in the morning in a school in the Madrid district of Barajas. There they are, in front of the vertical garden they have gone to attend. In his team are 14 people with intellectual disabilities. They are accompanied by a work and a gardening and community participation manager. Both guide them each morning and advise them, but it is they who develop and organize the daily work, which usually includes interaction with neighbors, for example through workshops or activities, such as teaching children to plant trees.

"It changed my life overnight. Now I have my money and I can pay for my things, "says Bryan. He arrived in Spain from Peru at 17. Now he's from Atlético de Madrid. With his first salary he bought a team pole, in which he plays in the Genuine Santander league, where people with intellectual disabilities compete. "Having work gives independence, joy and something to hold onto when parents are missing," says Raquel. "I would ask that we all be equal." That no one's talent be wasted.

Incorporation to the ordinary school

In May 2018, the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities issued a harsh report on the Spanish educational system. The New York Convention of December 13, 2006, which Spain signed in 2007, requires the inclusion of children with disabilities in ordinary schools. The Government is considering introducing the transfer of 35,000 students with disabilities to ordinary classrooms and including this transfer in the new Education Law.

"The school must be a reflection of society," says Catalina Devandas, special rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities at the UN. In his four years in office, he has not yet visited Spain, so he avoids making a concrete assessment.

But he is aware of the advances in recent months, such as the approval in Congress of a reform that will allow 100,000 people with intellectual disabilities, mental illness or cognitive impairment to vote; of the Government's preliminary draft to eliminate the terms "diminished" and "handicapped" of article 49 of the Constitution, or the draft law that drives the Executive to suppress the judicial incapacitation of people with intellectual disabilities.

It is expected that next March the UN will examine for the second time Spain - the first time was in 2011 - for its application of the International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

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