The Inter-American Development Bank’s Multilateral Investment Fund announced today the approval of a US$1,645,000 technical cooperation grant and US$600,000 in reimbursable financing to the Association for the Valorization and Promotion of Exceptional People (AVAPE) in Brazil, to support alternative business models that will increase employment opportunities for people with disabilities.
The program will offer business training to 9,000 people with disabilities. Additionally, 1,000 people with disabilities will be trained in a vocational rehabilitation program and 4,000 will be prepared to enter the job market. Around 1,200 of participants in the program are expected to be placed in new jobs.
At least 12 partner non governmental organizations will work in five regions –Pará, Río de Janeiro, Minas Gerais, Paraná and Mato Grosso-- implementing the AVAPE model, a licensing system that allows non governmental organizations to replicate aspects of a business through the sale of brands, products, services or even administrative and operational methods.
“Around 24.5 million Brazilians are estimated to live with disabilities, most of them unemployed or employed for relatively low wages or under precarious working conditions,” said MIF Team Leader Daniel Shepherd. “Companies with more than 100 employees in Brazil are required by law to have a certain percentage of their positions filled by persons with disabilities, but these same companies often face difficulties in developing well-structured recruitment and training programs.”
“The project will support the expansion of professional rehabilitation, training and job placement services through alternative business models in partnership with private and public companies,” explained Shepherd. “This initiative will improve work opportunities for persons with disabilities, contributing to their social inclusion.”
In addition, the project intends to implement a new service, AVAPE.NET, which will incorporate persons with disabilities as part of a new social enterprise that would provide commercial call center services to businesses and other entities. This new service line will create additional job opportunities for persons with disabilities, while also providing needed vocational training that can be used by the recipients to help them secure other employment. It will also serve as a model for fusing business services with hands-on training.
This project will directly benefit people with disabilities and will contribute to their inclusion in society. Moreover, by extending AVAPE’s reach across Brazil, the project will provide an important service to private and public sector companies, increasing the levels of diversity in the Brazilian workforce and helping companies comply with regulations for recruitment, hiring, training, and general employment of persons with disabilities.
AVAPE is a Brazilian non-profit organization created in 1982, that seeks to promote social inclusion for persons with disabilities, with a particular concern for their autonomy, security and dignity in exercising their rights as citizens. Since 2000, AVAPE has organized courses in strategic management for around 500 other non-profit organizations.
MIF, an autonomous fund administered by the IDB, supports private sector development in Latin America and the Caribbean, focusing on microenterprise and small business.