14 March, 2012
Despite staggering figures that point towards the growing unemployability rate among the disabled, some NGOs and Government organisations are trying to better the situation by offering such people a platform to perform. On the eve of the World Disabled Day, Sangeeta Yadav tells you about the available opportunities
Many disabled adults are capable of productive work, but it is often found that such people have far lower employment rates than the general population. This statistic needs to change,” Syed Salahuddin Pasha, Founder and Director, Ability Unlimited Foundation (AUF), which has two centres situated in Patparganj and Ghaziabad, tells you.
Pasha’s concerns are valid and statistics testify the hard reality. Employment of people with disability fell from 43 per cent in 1991 to 38 per cent in 2002, despite the country’s economic growth. What comes as a bigger surprise is the fact that even though there is a three per cent reservation in the public sector since 2003, only 10 per cent of posts have been identified as “suitable”.
However not all hope is lost —
“Things are improving. With the advancements in technology, the opportunities are increasing for disabled people. Not only can they work from home in the capacities of a content writer, author, painter, sculptor, but also as classical dancers, voice recording artists, teachers, etc,” says Pasha.
Although the society has a stereotypical attitude, things are looking up for those with disabilities. Be it providing proper education, physical accessibility to workplace, transport and cost effective aids and technology, the Government with the aid of certain NGOs is trying its best to provide a platform for such people.
The AUF, for instance, ensures the rehabilitation and upliftment of multiple disabled people living in both metropolitan cities and villages by teaching and training them in all form of arts. “I founded this organisation 30 years ago. And we were the first of our kind. It was only later that many other NGOs and Government organisations joined in the effort. The Persons with Disabilities (PWD) Act came much after in 1995.
“Although there are a plethora of opportunities available for the disabled in the urban areas, the condition in our villages is not something to be proud of. A lot of work needs to be done in that sector,” Pasha tells you.
The AUF holds workshops for persons with disability and teaches them to utilise their body while performing dance and other activities like singing and even acting.
“We have more than 100 people with multiple disabilities who attend regular classes. Some of them have performed classical dances on wheelchair and have won many accolades in the national and international scene.
“Apart from classical dance, which is our highlight, we provide new segment of employment and showcase their ability. We make these students ready to take on any job as per their skills,” Pasha tells you.
Apart from these NGOs which are working for the upliftment of the disabled people, there is sound technology that has a part to play as well. The Non Visual Desktop Access (NVDA) screen reader, for instance, is fast gaining popularity among visually impaired users for accessing different applications on Windows platform.
There is also a fortnightly news service on the Indian disability sector, aptly called the Disability News and Information Service (DNIS), this aims to empower persons with disabilities to be aware of their rights, mobilise NGOs, politicians, media, parents, educationists, lawyers, architects, and other civic bodies to create a disabled-friendly and barrier-free society.
Even the National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People (NCPEDP) has initiated a number of scholarship schemes, and created numerous partnerships with public and private sector organisations. It has also launched advocacy campaigns for the rights of disabled people to accessible education.
The Indian Government has not only reserved three per cent of the seats for disabled people in education and employment sector but also has opened special schools for such people. The private companies also have reserved some percentage of seats for the disabled people.
“For our IT company Mphasis, hiring persons with disabilities is the key to being inclusive, diverse and equal. They have added to our diverse workforce making us accessible and equal for all. The more they are exposed to work, the better and faster they improve and master the skills,” says Dr Meena Bhambani, CSR Head, Mphasis.
There are various other offices in the Capital and elsewhere in the country which employ people with disabilities.
WHERE TO STUDY & WORK
- National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People (NCPEDP)
- Ability Unlimited Foundation, Delhi
- Clarke School of Deaf in Chennai
- Blind School Association, Delhi
- National Association for Blind, New Delhi
- Amar Jyoti Rehabilitation and Research Centre, Delhi
- All India Deaf and Dumb Society, Delhi.