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“Work is a Right and not a Good Deed”

April 22, 2023 marks the 11th celebration of National Day for Students with Learning Difficulties.

On this day, we celebrate children and youth with learning difficulties, acknowledging their efforts and determination. In collaboration with the British Council and the Ministry of Education and Higher Education (MEHE), SKILD hosted a dinner entitled “Work is a Right and not a Good Deed” for the purpose of bringing all actors together – lawmakers, employers, and activists – not only to shed light on the rights of individuals with special needs for employment but also practically link them with businesses. H.E. Hamish Cowell, British Ambassador to Lebanon, presented the keynote speech during the event noting that the UK is delighted to host Education Ministers from across the world next month at the Education World Forum, where inclusive education will be one of the main themes. Mrs. Maysa Dawi, Country Director of the British Council in Lebanon, stressed that All children and young people should expect to receive an education that enables them to achieve their goals, become confident, and prepare them to make a successful transition into adulthood.

Dr. Nabil Costa, Founder of SKILD Center and Coordinator of the National Day for Students with Learning Difficulties, reiterated the focus of this year’s national day urging employers and members of the society to give equal opportunities for children and youth with special needs as this will enhance social justice and help them become productive and independent citizens.

Mr. Imad Al Ashkar, Secretary General of the Ministry of Education and Higher Education, stressed that joint efforts between the public and the private sector is a must to ensure the rights of all children with special needs.

Mr. Ziad Baroud, former Minister of Interior, emphasized the importance of revising law 220/2000 for special needs and called for the necessary reforms on the 23-year-old law stating that even the terms that were used in the law have changed.

In times when our country is weathering the storms of the different crises, giving individuals with special needs a place on the business table can offer them hope and a better future as well as add benefits to the workplace through a more positive environment and better motivation. Employers can help advocate for change in society by supporting initiatives that promote inclusivity and equal opportunities for people with special needs.

Our cry today is to give rise to an inclusive workplace that enriches the quality of life for individuals with special needs and offers them a sense of purpose, financial independence, and an advantage to contribute to society.

After opening the door to higher education, our challenge remains to ensure a healthy inclusive workplace that can help break down barriers and stereotypes and create a more inclusive society. Together, we want to see every child and youth with special needs in Lebanon recognized for their potential and valued as an integral part of society.

Hand in hand, let us walk alongside these bright students on their new path as they shove their way into the workplace.


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