As we all know, the COVID-19 pandemic has made a huge impact on society. The disability community is one of the most affected. The increasingly limited access to various things, including work, is a formidable challenge and indicates that the movement to create an inclusive society in Indonesia has a long way to go.

DNetwork – Jaringan Kerja Disabilitas is committed to continue to be part of the movement towards inclusive society, especially in terms of employment. Even though throughout 2020 the level of disability employment has dropped dramatically, DNetwork hopes that the beginning of 2021 will bring new enthusiasm for companies and the business sector to boost their inclusivity.

Therefore, in November 2020 DNetwork launched the #KantorRamahDisabilitas (disability friendly offices) campaign via social media consisting of encouragement for companies to build an inclusive work environment, educational materials on how to work with various types of disabilities, inspiring stories from employees with disabilities and inclusive companies, as well as webinars on similar themes.

The Aku Mampu program, which was initiated by DNetwork - Jaringan Kerja Disabilitas supported by YSEALI Seeds for the Future, has entered its second phase which focuses on the entrepreneurship theme, with the title "Aku Mampu Berbisnis". This program is in line with the increasing number of people with disabilities turning to entrepreneurship during the COVID-19 pandemic and considering the large opportunities in this field. DNetwork chose Femalepreneur Indonesia, an entrepreneurial learning forum with community members of more than 3,000 entrepreneurs throughout the nation, as a partner who provides modules and mentors to run this program.

In “Aku Mampu Berbisnis”, there are three main activities for people with disabilities who own businesses. First, the Zoom class which is divided into four sessions over two weeks. The four classes are themed; Entrepreneurial Mindset, Business Planning, Prototyping & Product Testing, and Marketing Through Text and Images. Second, online mentoring via WhatsApp where all participants are allowed to ask questions and consult about their business every evening for two hours. Third, the selection of the five best participants to receive intensive mentoring for business development and small grant as a business capital of Rp 2,000,000 each. Activities have started at the end of October 2020, attended by more than 70 business owners with disabilities, and will last until early December 2020.

After successfully holding five online classes for persons with disabilities, as a part of the Aku Mampu program, DNetwork also conducted various outreach to the wider community regarding disability issues, especially those related to employment. The socialization was carried out in various ways and targets different audiences. Even so, the goal was one; to raise public awareness of the importance of collaboration in creating an inclusive society.

All socialization activities were held online, in collaboration with various parties. On Tuesday (29/9), DNetwork explained about job opportunities for Indonesians with disabilities in front of the South Tangerang City government, all heads of city agencies, sub-district heads, and representatives of the disability community in an event held by the South Tangerang City Development Planning Agency (Bappeda). Then, Sunday (4/10), DNetwork had a fruitful discussion with the Special Education students from UNS. Meanwhile, on Monday (5/10), DNetwork was interviewed by Denpasar City Public Radio in a live broadcast that highlighted the inclusivity issue.

DNetwork also hopes to reach more layers of society to be more aware of disability issues. Therefore, campaigns through social media are also carried out regularly. Arrohma Sukma, a woman with a disability who is known to the public as a mountain climber and entrepreneur, is recruited by DNetwork as an ambassador for Aku Mampu who will help to amplify the messages brought by DNetwork.

One of the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic is the changing in the world of work; from the reduction of employees in many business lines due to the company's economic downturn, to the shifting of many aspects of the company to digital format. Even when the business world has gradually moved towards the "new normal", these changes have brought the world of work to deeper problems, especially for job seekers with disabilities; an explosion in the number of job seekers which makes the job market competition very tight and the increasing demands for mastery of digital skills that so far have not been taught in special needs schools (SLB) or independent courses.

Responding to this challenge, DNetwork comes up with a new program entitled Aku Mampu (means “I am capable”), which is supported by the Young South East Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) Seeds for the Future. Aku Mampu aims to help job seekers with disabilities develop their skills and knowledge to align with current career opportunities. Through this program, DNetwork equips job seekers with disabilities with job preparation modules that are available in various formats (text, audio, and Indonesian Sign Language video) and are free to download. There will also be a series of online classes which aim to thoroughly elaborate all the material in the module. Modules cover many things, from exploring one’s interests and talents, tips and tricks on making a good CV and handling job interviews, to A-Z about freelancing and entrepreneurship. Aku Mampu is to run from August to December.