I was looking for better ways to spend my weekends rather than sitting idle like a Zen master and contemplating on world issues. At that time I got introduced to Enableindia through the company I work for. I was particularly impressed with the radically different approach taken by Enableindia to deal with disability and people with disabilities. Enableindia has chosen the path of “Enabling” these differently abled people to lead a life of complete self-reliance filled with fulfillment, rather than portraying them as objects of sympathy thereby handicapping them for the rest of their lives. Since then I have tried my best to associate myself with some or the other of Enableindia’s activities.
More than anything the disabled people should themselves believe that they can lead a very normal life just like others. I think this is the first step towards their rehabilitation. To make this possible, at Enableindia, these people are taught some basic but very essential skills for daily life, like withdrawing money from an ATM (imagine a visually impaired person doing this) or going to a post office or a courier office, etc.
Then comes the employability of a disabled person. Getting disabled people employed is probably the biggest challenge faced by Enableindia. But people here are not the ones to lose heart. Their will to succeed and dedication is still greater. Many ingenious methods have been devised to arm the disabled people with skills which make them more employable. “Tactile Diagrams” is one such method through which the visually impaired people are taught MS-Office. Hard to believe, they are so good at it than most of us, at least better than me!! In addition to this people are trained in soft skills and interview skills according to their qualifications, with the help of volunteers.
It is really heartening to see the hard work and dedication of the disabled people and the volunteers bear fruit. Every weekend one can see somebody or the other distributing sweets because he/she has got a job offer. There we see Enableindia has enabled one more disabled person for life. One more person will now make each moment of his life count, on his own.
My personal experience with Enableindia has made me feel that all the disabled people at Enableindia together with the volunteers have rendered the word “Disability” meaningless. Now, it’s just like a plastic flower. Without any fragrance or life.
– Pradeep Ganapathi of HP
2 thoughts on “Disability – The Plastic Flower”
Good that you are enjoying volunteering at Enable India. People with disabilities can achieve anything and lead a normal life like any other… Thanks to the advancement of technology. However, here in India, we still see lot of barriers in terms of physical accessibility and for that matter, accessibility need to be implimented in applications and web as well. Society is losing the potential people due to lack of accessibility. For instance, in one of the posts by Shanti, she mentioned about Ms. Deepa, who is a mobility impaired but her disability will not come on the way to develop websites. However, though she qualifies in all rounds of interviews, companies could not hire since infrastructure of the companies are not accessible. This is most important.
It is sad that even though Deepa is capable, companies hesitate to hire for lack of facilities.
I work with IBM India at Bangalore and have been greatly impressed at the way IBM hires people with special needs. They are truly an equal opportunity employer. If there is a requirement and Deepa fits in, she will get hired.
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