Love & belief can conquer acid – Haseena’s story

 

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

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Inclusive writing – 8 Great Tips

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

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