I need a job, not handouts ... blind university graduate desperate for employment

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April 18, 2017

A blind man is bemoaning the difficulties faced by the disabled community in Jamaica, especially those who rise above their impairments to achieve qualifications that many fully able-bodied persons struggle to attain.

Shavane Daley is baffled as to why no one has employed him. He holds a bachelor degree in psychology with a minor in entertainment and cultural enterprise, and a master of art in cultural studies degree. He believes he has the skills to thrive in a corporate setting.

Since completing his undergraduate degree in 2012 and his masters in 2014 (awarded in 2016) at the University of West Indies, Mona campus, Daley has attributed his failure to attain sustainable employment to his lack of sight.

"Most of the time I go to interviews they always saying 'How yu going to see to do the job'?" he told THE STAR.

Daley was born visually impaired, and totally lost his sight at 14 after his retina was damaged during an operation intended to clear the cataracts in his eyes.

He thinks that although persons with disabilities may gain employment, blind persons find it more difficult.

Although he is yet to land a job, he has not given up his pursuit. But in the meantime, he is going after his own entrepreneurial endeavours and keeps himself occupied by voluntarily producing a radio programme.

"I never stop searching for jobs but I have started my own company (Entertainment Trail Media and Consultant) that I have registered. But without money, it is very difficult to promote," he said.

The father of an 18 month old child says he gets by on the kindness of friends and family who assist him financially.

"I have approached a lot of persons to talk to them about my plight and they said they going to try something and ... nothing. I am not saying I want someone to hand me a job but just give us a chance. Some people say they want to give me a handout. I don't want any handout. I want a job!"

A frustrated Daley, who interned at the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission in 2016, admits to omitting certain information when seeking employment which surprises perspective employers.

"Sometimes I go to an interview and I deliberately don't put stuff in my application to show that I am blind. So when I go to the interview, they say 'how yu don't put it pon yu resume say yu blind or say yu have a disability'. Obviously because if I did, they wouldn't call me none at all," he added.

Daley says he is encouraging employers to change their stance because the country is losing much productivity by not employing qualified disabled persons.

"We have a lot to offer to the country because is not me alone have a masters degree as a blind person and can't get no job."

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