Vocational Training in Sudan Opens Opportunities for People with Disabilities

Speeches Shim

Monday, January 13, 2020

Gamer Aldin Younis Elias, a 33-year-old welder from Sudan, is the sole provider for his eight younger siblings, despite the disability he has had since age 8.

As a child, Gamer Aldin contracted a back infection that was left untreated due to the lack of adequate health care facilities in his remote village in Blue Nile, which resulted in him being paralyzed from the waist down. His disability has never held him back from his desire to achieve higher education and a rewarding career.

In 2007, Gamer Aldin moved to the town of Damazine to continue his studies, then began to work as a daily laborer in the community market, but always felt there was more he could achieve in life.

In 2017, Gamer Aldin heard on the radio about an opportunity to participate in a USAID vocational training on mechanics for people with disabilities, applied, and was accepted. The training provided Gamer Aldin with a deeper understanding of welding tools and methods and knowledge of how to create materials that adhere to quality standards.

New work opportunities soon began to open up for Gamer Aldin and through his community’s support, he began to build furniture and work as a mobile welder to earn a livelihood.

“After my training, I continued to work and improve my income,” Gamer Aldin said. “I was able to pay off my educational fees, successfully pass the Sudanese Certificate Examination and be admitted to the Alguran Alkareem University in the faculty of Arabic language. I’ve become a different person full of hope! I believe my life is going to change for the better because in the past I would depend on other people’s charity, but now I can work and study at the same time.”

The vocational training helped Gamer Aldin to grow both in his social life, with new friendships he created, and economically, with the business opportunities that have opened up for him. He hopes to continue to improve his skills through additional trainings and is advocating for a mentoring program that allows trained individuals like him to assist other persons with disabilities in achieving success.

USAID has provided vocational training to 30 people with disabilities in Sudan, including 11 women and girls, helping them to be more self-reliant, with skills in leather production, welding, mobile maintenance, and carpentry. Since 2015, USAID has also supported federations in Sudan that represent people with disabilities, which advocate for their full participation in all aspects of life.