How a Visually Impaired Man Helped Employ Over 7,000 Persons With Disabilities
After losing his sight, he came to realise the hardships differently abled people struggle with, especially in an environment characterized by limited resources and opportunities.
But Jitender was not resigned to his fate. He got trained to use screen readers (software programs that allow visually impaired users to read text displayed on computer screens with a speech synthesizer or braille display) and other softwares that help him with daily tasks. And ever since, there has been no stopping.
“When I lost my central vision, I got the feeling of apathy any disability can fill you with. But despite the loss, having an insight became a lot easier. I started believing that if you have a will nothing can stop you. With my blurred vision, I visualized a platform, where, differently abled individuals could explore and realize their different abilities in real sense.”
The dependency on a caregiver is one of the the biggest traumas people with disabilities experience. And this had to be challenged, believes Dr Aggrawal. He dreamed of a center where people with disabilities can be equipped with the skills to find good jobs. And this is how Sarthak Educational Trust came into being.
What started as one centre in Delhi, is now operational in 21 states with 12 centres throughout India.
While its centre in Delhi is working towards the skill-development and employment of visually impaired candidates in medical transcription, Sarthak has successfully placed 7,250 persons with disabilities in various fields spanning retail, BPOs, IT and hospitality, through all its centers in Chandigarh, Delhi, Gurgaon, Jaipur, Ludhiana, Mumbai and Lucknow.
Phase one includes providing the students with basic computer skills, learning English, and other soft skills. Based on the level of disability and their interest, the second phase marks job specific training in the areas of retail, BPOs, IT and hospitality.
“If a hearing-impaired person is interested in IT. We’d look to employ them in fields like data entry. Similarly, with visually-impaired people, their voice is their strength. So we enhance their skills with vocal training and modulation and help them work in BPOs,” says Preeti Rathod, Project Manager of the Mumbai centre who has worked with Saarthak for over a year.
In the last 15 days of training, the students are taught about the do’s and don’t’s at their place of work and thoroughly counselled. With over 300 hiring partners across India, the centres line up interviews for students and once they get selected and start working, a rigorous 6-month follow-up is maintained.
The focus during the training is also to establish an inclusive environment within the centre where students with different disabilities support and interact with each other on Saturday, which is a day for fun activities.
In her final message, Preeti encourages people not to look at a disability as something being amiss in a person. “We are all disabled in some way or the other, so to single someone out because their disability is a lot more visible than ours is unfair. Empathy is a lot more important than sympathy. So treat PwD with respect and dignity because they are just as capable as any of us are.”
Source: Better India
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