Vocational Education Training (VET) possibilities specifically adapted to youth with disabilities (YWD) is still scarce and underdeveloped in Armenia. At present only 2 VET schools in Yerevan are ready to teach YWD as per labour market requirements. This results in 86% of working age YWD with no vocational training and a consequent exclusion from the workforce. Being deprived from VET opportunities, YWD are lacking vocational competencies demanded by the labour market making them entirely dependent on inadequate disability pensions to survive and, as a result, their income is considerably lower than that of non-disabled people.
This exclusion foreshadows a lifetime of unemployment and marginal employment among a population eager to work. This is compounded by discriminatory attitudes, inaccessible environments and communication barriers that contribute to further marginalization and exclusion from social and economic life.
Mission East strives to increase social and economic inclusion of these young people and strengthen their civil society organizations in several urban and rural communities of Tavush region, Armenia. This is done by enhancing advocacy capacities of both YWD and of civil society and by bringing together state and none-state actors active in VET and employment. Furthermore, the efforts enhance access to diversified income generation activities, markets, potential employers and government benefits for YWD in Tavush region.