March 2017: There is a lack of research in the area of disability in Pakistan; however efforts have always been underway by organizations working to mainstream persons with disabilities. The Research, Evaluation and Monitoring Unit (REMU) at the British Council in Pakistan produced a report on Moving from the margins: Mainstreaming persons with disabilities in Pakistan in 2014; it examined the challenges, opportunities and policy issues affecting persons with disabilities in Pakistan. Some of the glaring findings were that Pakistan could have as many as 27m persons with disabilities and a huge possible cost to the economy of between 4.9% and 6.3% of GDP each year. Moreover, most of the persons with disabilities are young and disadvantaged when it comes to access for opportunities like employment.
In this context, the British Council in Pakistan and NOWPDP, a disability inclusion initiative, have joined hands to author the research which gauges perceptions, experiences and challenges of young persons with disabilities in Pakistan in developing employability skills that support access to work or self-employment opportunities. The research will also identify the gaps between the practices at vocational training/ special education institutes in Pakistan and the existing employment opportunities. A set of recommendations and interventions will emerge to mitigate any gaps and to enhance opportunities for young persons with disabilities.