ULAANBAATAR, MONGOLIA — Lkhamjav Tsagaan’s cane is an extension of himself — having grappled with lowered mobility since childhood, he has discovered to deal with it so. One of the troublesome days in Lkhamjav’s life was when, whereas alighting from a public bus, his cane snapped. “Strolling house that day with a damaged cane from the bus cease was the toughest and longest street I’ve ever walked in my life,” he says. “I’ve by no means gotten on the bus since then.”
There are 94,800 folks of working age with disabilities in Mongolia, in accordance with a 2017 survey performed by the Nationwide Statistics Workplace of Mongolia. Simply over 1 / 4 — 27.8% — have been employed on the time. Many discover it troublesome to work exterior their houses as a result of they are saying Mongolia’s infrastructure — particularly, public transport and buildings — doesn’t usually cater to folks with bodily disabilities or enable them to go about their lives with dignity. In a 2018 survey, almost one-third cited hostile infrastructure as a deterrent to employment.
Within the capital, Ulaanbaatar, house to greater than half the nation’s inhabitants, lower than 5% of public transport automobiles are outfitted to accommodate folks with disabilities, and in accordance with accessibility evaluations performed in 2014 and 2015 by the Wheelchair Customers’ Affiliation of Mongolia, the Nationwide Human Rights Council and the World Well being Group, fewer than one-third of amenities at public service organizations have been satisfactorily accessible.
Odonchimeg Sengeebaatar’s life has been formed by such constraints. “Like different folks, I would like to have the ability to resolve the place to eat and at which theater to see films,” she says. “Sadly, the very first thing that involves thoughts is whether or not the constructing has a wheelchair ramp, reasonably than which meals to eat and which films to observe. Being disabled in Mongolia signifies that you don’t have any freedom of selection.”
Mongolia’s labor legal guidelines mandate that corporations with 25 or extra workers make sure that they make use of a number of individuals with disabilities, a 4% quota. Failure to take action can lead to a high quality of a month-to-month fee equal to the minimal wage of every person who the corporate fails to make use of. (The cash goes to a state fund that helps Mongolians with disabilities.) Many employers want to pay the high quality reasonably than make sure that their office — and the commute from side to side — is accessible for everybody, partially as a result of it’s cheaper to take action. Furthermore, enforcement of the regulation is patchy at finest. Of the 7,200 corporations in Mongolia that make use of greater than 25 folks, greater than half — 4,100 — fail to make use of folks with disabilities and, of those, simply over 300 pay the high quality.
Myagmarsuren Battur, GPJ Mongolia
“Making state public transport extra accessible is a precedence job,” says Chuluun-Erdene Mijigsenge, a specialist on the Common Authority for the Growth of Individuals with Disabilities. Attending to and from work is a serious impediment for a lot of, on condition that the overwhelming majority of buses lack amenities resembling ramps. Whereas Mongolia’s legal guidelines mandate inclusion on paper — together with a 1999 regulation enjoining that at the very least 10% of public transport automobiles accommodate folks with disabilities — many say there may be scant effort on the federal government’s half to make public facilities extra inclusive. (The Ministry of Labor and Social Safety declined to remark.)
On this context, personal corporations have stepped in to fill a market hole.
In an workplace in Ulaanbaatar, because the clock strikes 6, a girl greets Odonchimeg, rolls her wheelchair out the door, then helps her settle right into a automobile. Tuya Jigjidjav drives for taxi service UBCab. She is amongst 100 drivers the corporate has educated to facilitate prospects with disabilities. Previous to this service, Odonchimeg, who works as a venture coordinator, would commute by bus or depend on others to drive her to and from work. “To be sincere, public transport is troublesome sufficient for an peculiar individual, not to mention an individual with disabilities,” Tuya says. “On this state of affairs, I’m proud to take at the very least one individual with disabilities safely to his or her vacation spot whereas doing my job.”
UBCab gives taxi companies in all 21 provinces, though the “Care” service for folks with disabilities is presently restricted to the capital. The corporate stumbled upon this service hole whereas conducting market analysis, says Otgonbayar Namsraidorj, director of UBCab. “We found the troublesome circumstances through which folks with disabilities dwell,” he says. The corporate plans to increase the service to rural components of the nation and is lobbying personal and public entities to help its enterprise. “Even when corporations don’t make use of folks with disabilities, they will make funds for our vehicles to unravel the mobility points dealing with folks with disabilities, as a method of complying with the regulation,” he says.
For years, Undrakhbayar Chuluun, head of Common Progress, an impartial dwelling middle for folks with disabilities, has been lobbying the federal government on the problem. “We didn’t ask for particular roads from this nation; we simply need the buses to at the very least be accessible,” he says. “Crucial concern for disabled folks’s participation in social life is a correct social safety system and an accessible infrastructure atmosphere.”
At the same time as he continues to maintain the federal government accountable in its promise to make public transport extra inclusive, Undrakhbayar frequently avails the companies of UBCab. Common Progress has 17 workers, 12 of whom, together with Undrakhbayar, dwell with disabilities. “I’ve now stopped worrying about how our workers went again house at evening after work,” he says.