Empowering individuals with disabilities through employment

AuthorDirectorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion (European Commission)
© Martynas Vainorius, 2018
Problem addressed
For people with disabilities, opportunities for work can be
scarce and oen unsustainable. People with disabilities are
an especially vulnerable group due to the health- and stigma-
related challenges they face, and persistent unemployment
can place them at even higher risk of isolation, social
exclusion and economic deprivation. Many people with
disabilities also face a number of practical challenges in
everyday life, which increases dependency and reduces
employment opportunities. In Lithuania, approximately 8% of
the population is classif‌ied as disabled, and most are outside
the labour market. In 2018, the proportion of people with a
disability at risk of poverty or social exclusion in Lithuania was
43%, the third highest rate among EU countries.
Innovative solution
Regseda is a social enterprise in Lithuania that has
recognised the long-term problem of social inclusion and
employment of people with disabilities in the country,
and has been employing people with various disabilities,
and specif‌ically visual impairments, since 1959. Regseda
began in 1959 as a factory in Klaipėda, Lithuania,
employing mainly blind workers. It has since become one
of the largest social enterprises in the country, providing
training and paid work in manufacturing to individuals with
visual, hearing, nervous system, behavioural and mobility
disorders. The social enterprise empowers its employees
beyond employment alone. It also focuses on children and
young people, aiming to change their self-perception from
people with disabilities to self-sustaining, socially active
and empowered citizens. Furthermore, the management
and board of directors of Regseda is made up of people
with disabilities, including those with visual impairments.
The board is composed of members of the Union of Blind
and Visually Impaired People of Lithuania.
Regseda also supports the wider community of people with
disabilities, providing a free space for the union to organise
cultural or social activities, some of them f‌inanced by the
enterprise itself. It runs a summer camp for blind and visually
impaired children and young people, many of whom grow up
to become employees.
Regseda has a contract with the National Labour Exchange,
which provides the enterprise with state subsidies that
partially cover wages and assistance services.
Key results and benef‌its
The company has grown dramatically in the past few years
and is now a supplier for some of the largest furniture
producers in the country and internationally. In 2016, the
company generated a turnover of EUR 3.2 million.
Empowering individuals with
disabilities through employment
Workers in the Regseda factory

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