International Day of Persons with Disabilities

A mission of a person with disability to create an inclusive working environment

Eko Ramaditya Adikara, also known as Rama, never ceases to create and promote a more inclusive working environment. As an ILO consultant, he encourages business associations to collaborate with the Indonesian Business and Disability Network (IBDN).

Feature | 04 December 2023
Eko Ramaditya Adikara presents the important role of private sector to create inclusive workplaces at the office of the Indonesian Employers' Association (Apindo). © ILO
Eko Ramaditya Adikara, 42 years old, is busy preparing materials and documents that he was going to present to support the revitalization of the Indonesian Business and Disability Network (IBDN). Rama, as he is called, is an ILO consultant for Inclusivity, who is trying to reach out to business associations, such as the Indonesian Employers' Association (Apindo) and the Indonesia Global Compact Network (IGCN), to take part in managing IBDN and in developing IBDN’s future strategies.

It is crucial to involve business associations in networks like IBDN. Formed by several companies and organizations, with ILO support, IBDN seeks to promote equal job opportunities, create an inclusive and conducive work environment and emphasize the positive relationship between disability inclusion and business success."

Eko Ramaditya Adikara, ILO Consultant for Inclusivity
As a visually impaired person, Rama genuinely understands the importance of business awareness regarding the potential and capability of persons with disabilities. Companies’ lack of awareness has resulted in many not opening their doors to job seekers with disabilities.

"Therefore, it is crucial to involve business associations in networks like IBDN. Formed by several companies and organizations, with ILO support, IBDN seeks to promote equal job opportunities, create an inclusive and conducive work environment and emphasize the positive relationship between disability inclusion and business success," expressed Rama.

He is passionate about expanding employment opportunities for persons with disabilities to address the concerns he faces as a person with a disability. Despite having a successful career and life, he still often encounters barriers that are also commonly faced by persons with disabilities related to physical and digital accessibility.

As part of the ILO's mandate to promote an inclusive and discrimination-free working environment, we often hear testimonials from various companies that inclusivity enhances productivity, loyalty and even provides a cooperative and conducive working conditions."

Tendy Gunawan, ILO National Programme Officer
Moreover, Rama believes that society tends to view people with disabilities only as recipients of helps, often seen from a charitable and medical perspective. "As a result, the rights of persons with disabilities are still neglected. Yet, as individuals, persons with disabilities also have an active role and the ability to make decisions," he emphasized.

With the intensified involvement of businesses in inclusivity, he hopes that more people will realize that a long chain of efforts is required for a person with disability to secure a decent employment. "Apart from education which should be improved, employment opportunities should also be opened more widely and support from family and society should be strengthened as well," he added.

A similar notion is also echoed by Tendy Gunawan, ILO National Programme Officer. He is asserting that employing persons with disabilities is not a burden but an advantage and benefit for companies. "As part of the ILO's mandate to promote an inclusive and discrimination-free working environment, we often hear testimonials from various companies that inclusivity enhances productivity, loyalty and even provides a cooperative and conducive working conditions," said Tendy.

Rama, who completed his master’s degree in administrative sciences at the Yappan College of Administrative Sciences, has enjoyed strong support from his family and the surrounding environment. "Since I was little, my parents and friends never treat me different from the others. My parents have raised me naturally and I play with my friends, just like any other kids. My condition is considered as part of life that is no different from other people," he said.

Rama together with the ILO staff. © ILO
Apart from being an ILO consultant for several months, Rama also works as a trainer and facilitator at Ruang Guru and a lecturer at the Indonesian Institute of Education and Professional Development (LP3I) for personal development subject. He is also a writer for teen novels and even opens an opportunity for teenagers from his surrounding to help managing his Instagram and YouTube accounts.

As a father of two, he has started building awareness within his own family by instilling inclusivity in his children from an early age. "It just flows in our daily lives. I told my children that daddy is blind. I blindfold my children and I told them that is how it feels,” He also teaches them that when the eyes are closed, a person cannot see, but he or she still has a capability to do many things.

I would like to invite all of us to be part of the change towards a better future. I also urge the business world to join IBDN to build an inclusive working environment and provide an opportunity for workers with disabilities to have decent jobs and living conditions."

Eko Ramaditya Adikara
Meanwhile for the broader community and surrounding environment, he tries to increase their awareness about the abilities of visually impaired people by introducing computer skills and demonstrating how a person with visual impairement is skilled at operating a computer. Through this demonstration, he hopes to provide a new understanding and perspective about the potential of visually impaired people.

His love for the computer has been rooted from his childhood hobby of playing video games. "For me, video games have become a window to the world that has opened my imagination and understanding of various objects," he shared. Moreover, video games have also become a bridge to establish strong social relationships with his friends.

Living by the principle, "If you want to be loved, make yourself lovable," Rama encourages everyone to be pleasant individuals who love others. He aims to erase the negative stigma attached to persons with disabilities, portraying them as sensitive and uninteresting to socialize with, by becoming an inspirational figure, especially for teenagers.

"As a self-development trainer, I, for example, use superhero costumes from Star Wars movies during my training session to capture attention and inspire them. Persons with disabilities have the same abilities, and we must create an inclusive world together to ensure no one is left behind," he added.

His inspirational persona has brought positive changes in the perceptions and attitudes towards persons with disabilities among those who have interacted with him. Rama also emphasizes that efforts to create inclusivity in all aspects of life, including world of work, is not only an individual responsibility, but a collective one.

"I would like to invite all of us to be part of the change towards a better future. I also urge the business world to join IBDN to build an inclusive working environment and provide an opportunity for workers with disabilities to have decent jobs and living conditions," concluded Rama.

This article was written by Larasati Riskia Adiani, Communication Consultant at ILO for Inclusivity.