5 “Game-changers” for people with disabilities in the workplace

April 11, 2014

At EnAble India we believe in possibilities!

Every disabled person can add value to their community, workplace & family. Technology allows us to make more and more workplaces accessible for people with disabilities. Changes in the last few years have opened up lots of job roles for people with disabilities

  1. Screen reader – Screen readers such as JAWS, NVDA & Voice-over (MAC) allow the visually impaired to work on most applications, navigating all the important business tools such as the Microsoft office suite (Word, Excel & PowerPoint). EnAble India has trained hundreds of visually impaired candidates in using screen readers, allowing them to go on to employment in companies such as IBM, Thomson Reuters & DeutscheBank. EnAble India has created a dual sided headset, enabling visually impaired workers to use the same headset for listening to screen readers & answering the phone.

  1. Speech recognition – For people who cannot use their hands, speech recognition software enables people to give instructions to the computer with their voice – It can open programs, create emails, copy and paste, data entry, everything you can normally do. This technology is ideal for people who cannot use their hands on the keyboard. The speech recognition software that comes standard with windows software allows for a speech profile to be created, the software will learn the users’ speech pattern the more it is used. This software is a “game-changer” for people with physical disabilities with limited or no mobility in their hands and arms as well as people with cerebral palsy.

  1. Currency reader – EnAble India has created a device that reads out the value of notes, it allows visually impaired people to handle currency transactions. This opens up a huge array of jobs that have cash transactions involved. Previously, visually impaired candidates have been excluded from roles where there has been some element of handling cash. With the currency reader, the visually impaired can understand how much cash is being handled.


  1. Camera mouse. This software uses built-in cameras to track the user’s eye movements, allowing the user to move the cursor and click by blinking. A game changer for people with physical disabilities and peoplewith severe disabilities.
  1. Customized keyboards and mouse – Allows people with physically disabilities and people with Cerebral Palsy to use keyboards and mouse more easily and with greater accuracy. The keyboards & mouse are adjusted in size and shape to make it easier to manage. Depending on the nature of the disability, some candidates are able to perform at levels similar to, or better, than their non-disabled colleagues.

Love & belief can conquer acid – Haseena’s story

March 10, 2014


Happy International Women’s Day! We at EnAble India wish to celebrate the spirit of an independent Indian woman with the story of Haseena, a woman with amazing courage, confidence and compassion.

At the age of 21, Haseena became a victim of an acid attack and this attack caused her to lose her vision completely. For 10 years, she had to undergo 35 surgeries to reconstruct her face and body and she underwent immense counselling to help her get over the trauma. She was in and out of hospitals and never stepped out of her home to go anywhere else. She was not in touch with the outside world.

At Enable India, Haseena found hope. Her initial days were a trying time for both the trainers and herself. Coming out of her home was a culture shock. Because of the amount of time spent in the hospitals, she never got the opportunity to meet and mingle with people. Her world was black and white. She expected perfect behaviour from everyone she met, with no room for disappointment. We were worried about her job since every job requires interaction and team work. We wanted her to have a full life with friends and family. We believed in her potential. With the love and support of the Enable India trainers, she came out of her shell and learnt to mingle with others and made several friends. One of her first outings was to a park and she even joined the excursion to Nandi Hills with her family and friends. With EnAble India’s encouragement, she learnt to enjoy life and realised even “Haseena can smile”. What changed her life was voluntary work where she had to collect clothes for flood victims where she had to reach out to other people. Volunteering helped her to reconnect with her relatives and friends, with whom she hadn’t spoken to for a long time. The trainers recall when she had to do her presentation in front of a crowd regarding her volunteer work. It was an emotional moment because we had never seen her speak in front of an audience.

The Haseena of today, has become fully confident and independent. In her words, she is not a victim.

She is now working as a stenographer in a government department. She applied for a government job and using assistive technology, she proved to the officials that she could be a productive resource to the government sector.

After losing her vision, Haseena had been scared to walk alone. Her mother had to take her everywhere. During the initial training days, she used to arrive by auto because she was afraid to travel by public transport. With the mobility training, she is now independent and walks to her office all by herself.

Haseena’s tremendous courage had touched the lives of a lot of people. She has earned the respect of her community. She counsels many people who are in depression and has helped many others in need. She has even successfully counselled people with suicidal tendencies. She is actively working towards empowerment of acid attack victims. To prove that she too can lead the same life as others, she does her daily activities independently. She cooks, hangs out with friends, supports her family, fights for justice, and is the role model of a truly independent woman with dignity.

See the article about Haseena in the Hindu: http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/bangalore/with-sheer-grit-haseena-moves-on/article5761533.ece

Inclusive writing – 8 Great Tips

March 7, 2014

Pic of Priya & MohithPriya is a technical writing expert, developing training content with experienced trainers & accessibility experts.

When I joined Enable India, I was confident I would learn how to write to a varied audience. Coming from a technical writing background, the ground rule was one: Understand the audience. In Enable India the audience can be categorized broadly into Visually Impaired, Hearing Impaired and Physically Disabled. There are more categories. Candidates or trainers who use our training material come from varied backgrounds. Some come from rural areas, some from semi-rural areas, and few from urban areas. Most understand only Basic English.

8 Tips to help with inclusive writing:

1. Right from the start one thing was clear: use simple English. Use simple verbs. For example- “show” instead of “express” or “articulate”. This also works for the hearing impaired since simple verbs are easy to express through sign language.

2. Use simple present tense, short sentences. For example- The wrong sentence would be: “Navigating using the short cut keys in MS Word will be saving a lot of time for the candidates.” The correct sentences: “In MS Word, candidates should use short cut keys. This helps them save time during navigation.”

3. Only one action or task in a sentence. Example: Wrong sentence: “Pressing Alt +N will close the window and take the focus out of the application and onto the open folder.” The correct sentences: “Press Alt+N to close the window and exit the application. This takes the focus to the open folder.”

4. Avoid a lot of white space in a document. It is very frustrating for the Visually impaired to keep hearing the screen reader announcing “blank blank blank ….“

5. Using captions for images so that our VI friends get an idea about what the image is about. I remember the first time I removed a line that described a photo in our newsletter! So non-inclusive that was!

6. Using appropriate text to announce a link or an answer. For example: Click on this link for more details. “Answer”: To save a Word document press Ctrl + S.

7. In MS PowerPoint, minimize using graphic shapes. Screen readers do not read text boxes inside some graphic shapes in the order they are displayed, even arrows are read as graphics! So that makes it very Visually Impaired unfriendly. Use title place holder, sub title place holder, object place holder instead.

8. One important change I had to do was to use “Press” instead of “click”. Clicking is more for mouse users. Visually impaired computer users use only the keyboard, so it is always pressing the keys for them

☺ Simple short sentences works for everyone across the globe, does it not? Fully inclusive ☺ There are many more, but will stop here. The learning continues……

3 Most Popular Job Roles for Hearing Impaired

March 4, 2014

Profile picture of Vidya RaoVidya Rao – Employment Manager, EnAble India

Despite a few challenges in communication, employing hearing impaired candidates does not have to be difficult. With some planning and adjustments to the way we communicate, employing hearing impaired candidates from all backgrounds can be very easy. For most roles, a translator is required during training, and then basic signs and written communication is utilised EnAble India has had a great deal of success in finding roles for hearing impaired candidates across a number of industries.

The TOP 3 entry level job-roles:

1. BPO backend operations – Includes transaction processing, document processing, data entry, scanning & much more. Roles are often repetitive but can be very easy to learn with lesser degrees of ambiguity. Hearing impaired candidates often use this type of role to gain an understanding of how an industry or domain operates. Companies include: Accenture, Thompson Reuters, Infosys, WIPRO, Cognizant, Deutsche Bank

2. Software Testing – The key challenge is to understand how the software is intended to be used. Conducting checks on software and identifying discrepancies, bugs and relevant improvements. The role can be repetitive but also very challenging, particularly when software does not perform correctly. Companies include: Infosys, Cognizant,

3. IT Support – Receiving requests from remote clients. (IMAC = Install, Move, Add, Change). Remotely installing software, solving problems, adjusting systems. Monitoring servers and systems remotely and running checks to ensure systems can operate efficiently. Great opportunity for candidates to gain hands-on experience in the IT industry Companies include: IBM, EMC2 EnAble India is currently recruiting for training and placements.

Do you know a hearing impaired candidate who is looking for work? Resumes can be emailed to employment@enable-india.org Like us on Facebook!! http://www.facebook.com/enableindia

Volunteer Profile – Katie Mackay

February 27, 2014
Katie in the main office

Katie in the main office

Katie travelled to India for the first time in mid-September 2013 to volunteer with EnAble India for 5 months. She found EnAble India through an agency called 2Way Development, a UK based social enterprise that organises personalised volunteer placements around the world in the field of international development.

After reviewing several organisations in and around Asia, she chose EnAble India as the work sounded as though it would build upon the experience she had already gained from working with adults and young people with disability in the UK.

She feels that she adapted easily to her life in Bangalore though found crossing roads difficult at first – she thought that she had mastered this a long time back in UK and should probably have insisted upon some EnAble India mobility training in her first week!! Katie felt that everyone was so welcoming and friendly at EnAble India. “Everyone took the time to talk to me and I felt like I quickly became one of the Enable India family.”

The work has been multi-faceted: interviewing candidates and writing case studies; making retention visits to candidates in different companies and speaking to them and their managers to find out how things are going; content writing for Visually Impaired; customer service trainer for Visually Impaired; helping hand at Mysore job fair.

Katie feels she has learnt many things here at EnAble India, such as:

  • How to ask the right questions and get the most out of people during case study interviews and retention meetings.
  • Communicating with corporate people.
  • Learning how to communicate with hearing impaired (sign language)
  • Learning about skills with visually impaired
  • Gaining understanding of what its like to be a disabled person in India – the challenges etc.

Katie has felt inspired by the passion and commitment of the disabled job-seekers/ job holders that she has met at EnAble India. She has found EnAble India to be a very hardworking NGO that provides a great service to people with disabilities and people without disabilities who are enabled to have a better understanding of inclusion. Her fondest memories will be of interacting with candidates at companies, seeing them open up and react in such a positive way and generally being a part of the EnAble India team! In terms of challenges she may have encountered at EnAble India, she felt she sometimes experienced difficulties getting hold of information quickly, getting in touch with people from companies and getting appointments organised and she sometimes felt too many excel sheets has the potential to cause confusion.

She feels her life in Bangalore has been amazing and she has made friends that she hopes to keep for years to come. Katie is a musician and so had been involved in many musical projects and performed at many venues around Bangalore, becoming Bangalore’s most famous English, blonde haired trumpet player! On this she advised, “traveling around India with a trumpet is an interesting way of meeting people! I would recommend it to anyone!”

(Update: Katie has been featured in the Deccan Herald:  http://www.deccanherald.com/content/389338/i-absolutely-love-food-here.html)

Mail from a Visually Impaired Candidate to Shanti Raghavan

April 20, 2012

Hello ma’am

There are lots of things to be shared with you. Unable to understand from where should I start?

Ma’am I am happy being back to home. I am finding lots of positive changes with positive attitude towards me. The way my family is treating me I’m happy to see there concerns for me now.

Biggest change I found was my self respect which I had lost in family.Cause of loosing sight. Now I am feeling like I’m gaining it back ma’am.

Last week I went all alone out in Hyderabad. I went to all the places were I used to rome alone when I was sighted ma’am. You know ma’am it was my dream to move again all alone independently, on the same path’s where I used to move alone when I was able to see.

I had lost all the hopes and never thought, I would be able to rome again independently there.I did my schooling there ma’am. The best period of my life. I am feeling like, I am living a life now what I was looking for actually. I used to thing over a period of time that, “Is it possible for me to this birth, to move alone? Can I go to relatives place as of before?

can I go for outing with friends independently? “this question was in my mind even after being in Bangalore for such along period and that to all alone. I got my answer now. “Yes! I can and I did it.” I am very happy ma’am.

I never thought my parents will allow me to go all alone. But after little argument, I was able too. It was really an adventurus day. I asked permission to my dad he refused. He went on his work. I just dressed up, told I am going and moved. ma’am my Aunty was trying to hold me, brother called to dad, another aunt was on continuous call with me. mamma was back of me on the road trying to stop me from going alone. But I didn’t listen any one. Some how I finished the day and came back. Little bit dad was upset, asked me what about your [my] safety. I explained him every thing and told I keep small and open scissor with me. If something happens I can use it and be safe.He was very happy listening that. He got feeling of like I am thinking from all. aspects. Just not doing the things foolishly.

Ma’am now you will laugh. I asked him to get me a knife which can be opened easily when ever required. Even he guided me there after how to look more on my safety bases.Apart from that ma’am previously, there was a thinking cultivated for me, what ever I am doing, is just a time pass and waste of money.

But now every one in family. especially my dad, is finding the products/accessories which is useful/helpful for me in my day today life. Day before yesterday, he was saying that, as of now you are going out alone. I heard about some mobile which guides for the way. I want it to purchase it for you,  mobile with gps service. I told him it’s better to purchase gps receiver than mobile. He told to find it out the price and from where can it be ordered. I told him I know dad. I want to purchase it after getting employed. I was really happy seeing his concerns ma’am.

I want to say you only few sentences.”I Neha Agarwal, from bottom of my heart bowing down to your feets, thanking you for changing my life ma’am.”

I love you ma’am.I really thank whole enable-india, each and every person in and around organisation to bring vast and fantastic change in my life. For building my confidence level back. For shaping and moulding my future, career and over all helping me to gain my self respect to its original.

I just cant put it in words ma’am. I was dying for the same respect and dignity which was lacking in my family. Not only in family ma’am it was no were in my own views. Which  is the most important and powerful tool to win.

Now I gained it. Just because of you and enable-india. Ma’am I really gratitude you and Shiva sir to give me chance for service management training. I had learned many things there after. July 18th 2011, a day  waiting for me to bring huge difference in my life. This was the single chance was given to me to proof my self. Here after I feel like I utilised the chance given to me and proofed that, I was waiting for a appropriate decission to be taken by my parents for me.

Now I feel that my parents are really proud of me. Only left is getting employed. I trust enable-india, they will not leave me simply without being employed. I will be soon working in a huge organisation with dignity. I ,trust enable-india, they will make me to stand me being even financially independent soon.I conclude my lengthy mail by thanking again to you Shanti ma’am for bringing me, out of my own conflicts running inside and giving me lots of love and care, encouraging me, cheering up for every small thing, lot of other things. If I try to jot it down on a piece of paper, its impossible. thanks to Dipesh sir for working with I B M  for me to be placed in. thanks to Shiva sir to give oppurtinity to join training and train me, thanks to Anju ma’am to give us life skills training which I was really  in need of, thanks to Vidya ma’am to guide me, thanks to Hema ma’am to give me chance to do project work and guide at every point and learn the things more acuratly. The most and important person is Geeta ma’am for mobility. Today I am smiling. Its because of her mobility training. Thanks a ton Geeta ma’am.

So so so happy ma’am. A small wish and request ma’am. When I will

receive my offer letter and the day I will join, I want to talk to you on call and take best wishes from you  for my future. you gave me what ever I demanded till now. So, I know, I’ll get this too. Thanks again ma’am.

According to me enable-india does: “enable-india doesn’t work only to empower person with disability.It  works for even disables lives life with dignity.” “Its incomplete, abling the disables only for living there life independently,its  complete, when abling the disables to live with respect in society, with confidence. by developing there own trust in oneself.”

EnAble India’s Children Services – Story reading session

February 7, 2012

Visually Impaired Children read the Hungry Caterpillar story and enact it

A fortnight back,  we, at children services team, had a story reading session with some of our junior students with visual impairment. 5 children with Visual Impairment, between the age 3 and 9 years read out stories from their braille books. It was so interesting to see how curious they were all to see each other’s books. Later we read the story of  “a very hungry caterpillar” also in braille. Then the children pretended to be caterpillars and ate everything that the caterpillar ate in the story. They saw the whole fruit, smelt it, felt the shape, cut/peeled them, inspected the seeds, learnt their colours and ate them up. Some caterpillars loved only junk food while the others enjoyed everything. Parents were excited too. They helped the children in learning different things about the food they ate.  It was good FUN!


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