I am legally blind which means I have limited vision. I have been trying to get a job for more than 15 years and I still do not have employment.
I could not find a job despite doing volunteer work for five years, getting a Diploma in Management, and going to university to study Sociology and Social policy.
I have attended many interviews, but when they find out I am visually impaired I am no longer considered for the job. Our world is so competitive that businesses don't want the hassle of dealing with the extra adaptions that may be needed when employing a disabled person
According to disability research, the blind and visually impaired are the least likely of all disabled people to be employed.
I never did get a job and now, because I am over 50, I have given up trying to get one. I am FORCED to receive a benefit, which isn't even enough to live on.
Lack of employment has impacted me severely. My whole life I have tried to get a job so I could have a decent life and feel like part of society, like I am contributing, but instead I am forced to live in poverty with no chance of escaping. Living on a benefit is humiliating and you are treated like you have no value. This has caused me to become depressed and very isolated.
I have no idea how to encourage businesses to employ people with disabilities. We have skills that other people don't have, and these skills need to be acknowledged. Accessibility legislation should ensure employers provide reasonable accommodations for people with access needs, so that everyone has a fair go at getting and keeping a job.
This is a story about the barriers many face. We're sharing it because we want a law that puts accessibility at the heart of an inclusive Aotearoa New Zealand.