Equality is not a privilege, it is at the heart of human rights

May 18, 2023

It is often positive attitudes that shape human experiences. They have the power to transform and impact communities - and change processes along the way.

Elmi Fazliu from Prishtinë/Pristina uses a wheelchair to move around, after an accident that occurred 15 years ago. But this does not prevent him from reaching the 12th floor of the Ministry of Finance, Labour, and Transfers (MFLT) building, his workplace. He is committed to striving for more inclusive and accessible institutions for all - or “societal changes”, as he calls them. 

“If you are dependent on using a wheelchair to move around, it does not mean that you are worth less than others. Being vocal about my special needs makes me more conscious of the abilities and skills I can acquire, and fully focus on them, allowing me to cover the same amount of work as any other civil servant.”

Elmi is a graduate in Information Technology and is pursuing a master’s degree in computer sciences. He has been recruited as an IT intern at the office of the Secretary General of the MFLT, through the Internship Scheme, as a part of the Active Labour Market Programmes 2 (ALMP 2). In addition to his professional contribution to the IT work at the Ministry, he remains an active voice for the rights of persons with disabilities and their equal involvement in public institutions.

“I often attend weekly and monthly staff meetings, where among other discussions, I convey the messages on importance of equal job opportunities in public institutions, and in the labour market overall,” he says. “Stepping into somebody else’s shoes doesn’t always work - but walking together means a lot.” 

Elmi says that it only takes a bit of courage to become part of a decision-making process. “I feel responsible to act upon the issues that persons with disabilities deal with regarding employment. Now that I am given this chance, I see room for improvement, which I am committed to work for,” he confesses. “I bring suggestions on how this institution can progress in sharing opportunities evenly in the labour market, and design action plans that can be implementable in the current working environment. On the last meeting we had, I advised on more inclusive parking spaces which guarantee accessible infrastructure for all.”

Finding strength and motivation requires a lot of patience and self-awareness. 

“Untransparent and unfair recruitment processes affected me and my professional growth for years. Amidst tens of applications submitted, while fulfilling qualifications and criteria, I was not invited for any job interviews. I hope that the wheelchair would not have been an obstacle,” he emphasizes. “I was obviously very disappointed!”  

Elmi says that he even initiated preparations to migrate, but at the same time he applied for the Internship Scheme. “When I received a congratulation email, I was moved. I am grateful for the opportunity I was given.”

Apart from the internship, Elmi is happy to share that he is the founder of “The Bule Wheelchairs”, a basketball club for people in wheelchairs. “I was a dedicated athlete before the accident, and as I couldn’t detach from it, I decided to establish the basketball club.” This way, he is able to cherish life undistracted from any physical limitation.


Through the Active Labour Market Programmes 2 (ALMP 2) project in collaboration with the Ministry of Finance, Labour, and Transfers, UNDP has been able to support Elmi on his career journey. 

We as UNDP are committed to taking actions that involve persons with disabilities and expand their opportunities to actively participate in the labour market and society at large. 

Written by Erblina Selmanaj