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)