Supermarket chain, Choppies, made history by becoming the first business venture in Botswana to hire the disabled.
The action carried out by Choppies shall be noted as the first amongst local companies to help the nation, especially the disabled, fulfill the pillar of “a just and caring nation” under Botswana’s Vision 2016.
In a letter addressed to the Botswana National Youth Council (BNYC)’s Executive Director, Anthony Morima, the management of all the 70 Choppies outlets outlined their intentions to hire at least one disabled person at each one of their outlets within the country.
Currently, the BNYC is the only one sponsoring the activities of the disabled community after their endless pleas for assistance.
Most members of the recently launched Botswana Federation for the Disabled (BOFOD) form a large percentage of the unemployed sector.
The BNYC has given the leadership of BOFOD the responsibility of choosing the people to fill the positions offered by Choppies using strict but specific and fair criteria.
Not one company was confident enough to hire them as they continuously doubt the disabled’s ability to apply the same work ethics and conduct in carrying out tasks compared to so-called able-bodied persons.
In what Morima considers to be a major breakthrough, Choppies has earned themselves the title of the most sympathetic business contributor to the disabled community.
Some cite Choppies as having hidden agendas but the community of the disabled, which has been stigmatized for years on end, will now stand to benefit from this development.
“This is very good news for disabled people countrywide. In fact, when I heard the news I was skeptical and only believed it when a stamped letter was drawn up; this also presents Choppies in a good light,” said Morima.
Morima sees this as a challenge and an example set for other business ventures to follow. He plans to take a copy of the signed document to BOCCIM so that they could distribute the copies to other companies who might want to take a leaf out of Choppies’ book.
The Chairperson for BOFOD, Omphemetse Ramabokwa, thanks Choppies for helping them to overcome the disabled’s social challenges and for acknowledging their existence as human beings with the need for acceptance.
“As we are talking now, some of us have been stripped of our dignity as individuals; we have been told countless times that the jobs we could be hired for are effortless ones such as switchboards and making tea. We understand that the government can’t hire all of us, but we hope that companies, such as the Local Enterprise Authority (LEA) and CEDA, will become more user friendly towards our community and look at us in terms of our capabilities not our disabilities,” said Ramabokwa.