Technology opens doors for disabled people in Southeast Asia

Technology opens doors for disabled people in Southeast Asia

Rosana Ali is doing just fine by most accounts. She supplements her family’s income by working in the food delivery industry, and works on her own time, within her own schedule. Until you meet her, what you won’t know is that she has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair to get around.

For Rosana and many people with disabilities, it can be hard to get opportunities. Earning a livelihood is challenging when you also have to deal with the limitations of discrimination and access in the physical environment, just to find work or conduct a business.

Globally, nearly two-thirds of people with disabilities of working age are not part of the workforce. In Asia Pacific, people with disabilities are They are two to six times less likely to be employed than people without disabilities. However, the situation is changing. Superapps in the region are creating an environment in which more people can find opportunities to earn money. Since these apps are designed to be accessible and easy to use, they promote more inclusion. Persons with disabilities can be assigned a gig as long as they have the relevant ability to perform the task at hand.

Such applications see Rosana as someone who can act as a delivery partner because cerebral palsy and being a wheelchair user do not affect her ability to provide delivery services. It is the value she brings as a person who is able to provide food services, which allows her to make extra profits for herself.

Aside from working people, technology is also helping merchants like Jasmine and Edward, a deaf couple who own and operate a bakery in Malaysia. Since their business was listed on the superapp, they have increased their ability to reach new beneficiaries by tapping into the app’s customer base. The effort required to coordinate deliveries is also managed through the app. By utilizing its network of delivery riders, Jasmine and Edward don’t have to invest in their own delivery fleet, allowing them to focus on what they do best: making delicious baked goods.

The accessibility that comes with superapps provides everyone with a fair and equal opportunity to earn income and provide for their loved ones in a rapidly changing world. Tech companies like Grab are leading the way in this regard, as they work to develop the services they offer such as food delivery, rides and digital payments, to be more inclusive for both partners and consumers.

For example, Grab ensures representation for its PWD partners through the Driver Representation Committee in Malaysia. Attended by both PWD drivers and delivery partners, this panel builds engagement between Grab and its partners, and provides a direct line to Grab so that Grab can provide assistance if the need arises.

On the other end of the spectrum, to ensure that passengers with disabilities are comfortably transported from one destination to another, the company’s Grab Assist service features vehicles that can accommodate foldable wheelchairs, walkers, and foldable scooters. Drivers are available in Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia, and drivers who are part of the program are also trained to help passengers with disabilities and mobility challenges.

“At Grab, we are committed to leaving no one behind in the digital economy and doing our part to increase inclusion for people with disabilities on the platform. This ranges from providing earning opportunities for drivers, delivery, and business partners, to providing comprehensive assisted mobility services for our customers, and constantly advocating for more. of inclusion in Southeast Asia by working alongside like-minded partners and disability advocacy groups.” Cheryl Goh, Group Head of Marketing and Sustainability, Grab.

This is only the beginning. As tech companies are on the way, the doors will continue to open even more.

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