What its like interning at EnAble India

Picture of Ranjith– Rajath Francis

You never know what to expect when you go someplace for an internship. Thoughts lurk around your mind wondering if it’s going to be a fine, peaceful and jovial place to work or an “I want to get out of here as soon as possible” kind of place. Well, Enable India proved itself to be the first one for me. Fun, creative and a challenging place to work. With out-of-the-box thinking people who can make your life and workplace fun to be with, what else can one expect? Its one thing to be completely working under one person, but it’s quite another to work under three to four people. At Enable India, there isn’t a specified job description. Free and got some work which has to be done? Well, it’s all yours. Whether its Shruthi’s data entry or writing weekly reports for Vishnu or solving aptitude based questions for Julian, it’s all your cup of tea. That’s right, if someone asks you what you do at Enable India, you know what to say.

Work and workplace, both are two ends of the same spectrum. Now, when one says that he or she is working for an organization which empowers the disabled, a typical image flashes in our mind, one of people pushing wheelchairs or conducting seminars to boost a physically challenged person’s morale or something on similar lines. But, step inside this place and in a matter of hours you realize the difference. Dealing with employing and training people with disability, EI only pushes these people, giving them the confidence that they are very well capable of doings things on their own. Coming to people with disabilities, a common man’s thought would be of someone who works just to get his daily butter and bread. But, go through the very well structured impressive and professional resumes of these guys, and you might just want to swap your lives with them. Now, sitting in the main office for days together could get a bit monotonous, so EI gave me an opportunity to break that. As a volunteer to help in one of the most prominent software companies, EMC2, for a program organized along with Enable India, it was just a one of kind experience. If you intern at an organization like Enable India and tell people that you didn’t spend time with disabled people, well, that’s going to be a shame. So, while volunteering at EMC2 for the “Diversity and Inclusion” event I got the opportunity to help and interact with about twelve candidates who suffered from profound disability. Interacting with these people was fun in itself. Talented, humorous and fun people they were. Even if you choose to remain quiet thinking that you might be disturb them, they’ll bring up a topic and pull you into a lengthy conversation. The candidates were not the only ones worthy of praise at the event. Dedicating their life and savings to see a successful future for their children, the parents were the main guiding force and strength for people with disability. All together, the “Diversity and Inclusion” event at EMC2 was a memorable one. Things just don’t end there. ‘Asvas’, a dedicated place only for the training of candidates with disability. It was here that I was sent along with two other friends of mine to gain insight on the field of tactile drawings. Tactile drawings, a method used specifically for visually impaired people. Using different textures so that people who are visually impaired can feel and make out the difference, the methodology behind this was explained. But as the popular adage goes, “practice makes a man perfect”, and so we were also given the chance to work with the volunteers from Thomson Reuters in designing tactile boards.

If I begin to describe Enable India and tell you how good this place is, then I’m surely going to run out of words. My knowledge on words which describe something as awesome, magical, mesmerizing, brilliant, amazing, splendid and stunning are just limited to the words you just read. Enable India is all that and more. Getting an opportunity to work for such an organization is something which is going to remain as one of the best things in life for me. Each person here, and all of them that I met while I worked here, taught me how to go about and see life in a different perspective. If I feel low and skeptical of my future, all I have to do is think about those amazing resumes which I dealt with to brighten me up and get me all optimistic. They teach you that nothing is far away from your reach and everything is well within your grasp. If they can achieve great things in life despite all their shortcomings, then anyone can. I’m not sure who says this, all I know is that it’s from the movie ‘Turbo’, but this quote is truly an inspiration, and it goes like this: “No dream is too big, and no dreamer too small”.

(The views and opinion expressed in this article are those of the author & not necessarily those of EnAble India)

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What they don’t tell you about an internship at EnAble India

Picture of Kavya standing in front of main office
Kavya Srinivasan

1. There is never place to sit:

It’s a dog-eat-dog world out there, and the EI offices will tell you that when you find somewhere to sit, make sure you just stay there. Don’t ever leave, don’t go to the bathroom, don’t so much as move a muscle. You will lose your seat.

The likelihood is high that the chair you’re sitting in already belongs to someone else anyway. “Oh, but Esther sits there..” “Actually, that’s Shivaprasad’s sir spot…” In these cases, the correct procedure is to ask when the owner of the chair will be back. You may be pleasantly surprised to find someone is on the field for a few days, and your worries will be temporarily gone.

I’ve spent more of my internship looking for somewhere to sit than I have actually sitting.

  1. Didn’t get a job description? There are no job descriptions.

It takes you a day or two to figure this one out, and it’s a big secret at Enable India. Every one does everything. Thought you were going to work on one project? You have another think coming. Your skills are at editing, you can be sure that you’ll be involved in something software or business related. You’ll do phone calls for sourcing no matter who you are. Everyone is fair game for data entry.

I mistakenly went up to Shanti in the first week saying I’ve got some time on my hands. Never again.

  1. The best thing about the day happens at 11 and again at 4: Coffee.

You’re eyes are getting a little heavy. There’s a general air of too much going on. You check your watch, and discover that it’s coffee time. Suddenly, it’s all good. The whole office pulls out little coasters from wherever they’re hidden the rest of the time, and for a few minutes we all slurp our tea, coffee or green tea companionably. And we munch our biscuits. And then we go back to our lives.

This isn’t just coffee at EI, it’s a symbol. It’s the grand equalizer. And is therefore taken very seriously. Otherwise impassioned meetings pause for coffee, sourcing calls stop for coffee, everything stops for coffee.

  1. Get used to no one checking your emails.

Saying ‘how-do-you-do’, that’s a formality. Shaking hands, a formality. You know what else is a formality? Emails. No one reads them, no one replies to them.

You devise your workarounds to this, and this is highly confidential and relevant information if you want to work at EI. This is how: First, send your email. Then, send a text message about your email. Then, go up to wherever the concerned person is sitting (god knows how this is done, since everyone’s sitting in a new place every day). Tell this person to check their mail. And pray.

  1. You’ll fall in love with the place, the people and everything. You will regret any internship you did before, and every internship you do after.

There’s a magic to this office, and there’s no other way to explain it. You learn, and laugh, and make friends. Every single person at the EI office has made my life better in their own way, and I hope I did the same! It’s a crazy place, overrun with wonderful, passionate and caring people who make you glad you’re alive and got to meet them.

(The views and opinions on this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily represent EnAble India)

WARNING – Scam affecting people with disabilities looking for employment

Stop_hand_warningOver the last few days, we have seen  a scam doing the rounds.
It comes as an email to candidates with disability who are applying for jobs, and has the seal of a reputed company on it, with what looks like an offer letter attached. It offers to reimburse the candidate for the costs of travelling to Delhi and accommodation there. Please do not respond to this. It is not a genuine offer letter.
We suggest that you consult someone with experience at the Enable India office in the event that you receive a mail of this kind, before you transfer any money to any company accounts. Companies interested in employing you will NOT ask for any money without going through the appropriate procedures, and we urge you to be aware and conscious about fakes like these.
We hope you will use the maximum possible caution online, and report to us any other scams of this nature that you may have heard of. Do pass this message forward to ensure that others don’t fall victim either.
For assistance, call EnAble India on 080 4282 3636.
Simplified Language Version:
Email has been sent to people with disability telling they have got job from a good company. But the email is a fake. Asking for money to be put in account.
Do not give any money, ask EnAble India iF any doubt. Call 080 4282 3636 if any doubt.

Break the misconception & know the truth

Sudhanya is an Intern from Christ University Bangalore, interning at EnAble India in April/May 2014. From a media studies, communication background. She is working with EnAble India providing social media assistance in-order to reach a wider audience.

Misconceptions are barriers that interfere with the ability of people with disabilities to have equality in employment. Lack of awareness promotes negative attitudes concerning employment of people with disabilities. Some of these common stereotypes and misconceptions which are floating in our society must change:

Misconception: People with disability need our sympathy and pity

Truth: Frequently we find society perceiving disability as a tragedy such that persons with disability fall into the pit of sympathy. It is important to understand that sympathy & pity is something which will break an individual’s confidence to be independent & self-reliant. Motivating people with disability will encourage them to face any challenges in life and to follow their dreams.

Misconception: Disability is a sickness

Truth: The word ‘disability’ itself is often attached to negative stigma of an incapability to do something. The question is can disability be labeled as a sickness? Can disability be labeled as incapability or lack of ability? If that is true, then how did people like Beethoven create the most beautiful symphonies, even though he couldn’t hear any of his own music? How then did Helen Keller describe the beauty of the world and the lovely music of nature, without seeing or hearing? If Beethoven and Helen Keller can do beyond the impossible, then disability as such cannot be labeled as a kind of sickness but a challenge to achieve.

Misconception: People with disability are special

Truth: Frequently we see that people with disability are called special or being different. It is important to understand how we would term the word ‘disability’. Being disabled does not stop anyone from doing certain things, though it’s true that things are done differently. Does doing things differently mean being special or being unique?

Misconception: People with disability need our protection

Truth: There is nothing wrong in being protective and concerned for anyone. It only becomes a problem when we get over-protective. This would obstruct anyone’s opportunity to do things on their own & to be self-reliant.

Misconception: People with disability are super-heroes

Truth: Often, disability is seen as a tragedy of life and surviving is a great inspiration. It is important to understand that everyone is the superhero of his/her own life. By facing all the obstacles in life, we make our own life an inspirational story.

Misconception: People with disability always need to be dependent on others

Truth: Everyone is dependent on each other, in some way or the other. It’s human nature that no one can be alone. Though it may be true that there are some people with disability who are dependent on others, it is not necessary to stereotype every person with disability as always being dependent on others. As many people with disability are also able to live independently.

Misconception: It’s easy to accidentally offend a person with disability when speaking to him

Truth: It’s important that we be polite while talking to anyone and, to ensure that we are not rude to anyone.

Misconception: People in wheelchairs have restricted mobility

Truth: Today’s highly mobile world, where we use different kinds of transportation like cars, bikes, buses, trains, etc. to reach anywhere, has almost made us forget that we can walk to places. Can the mere existence of legs be termed as being mobile? Hence, being on a wheelchair can never be termed completely as restricted mobility. Mobility is only restricted by the barriers we place in front of people

Misconception: People with disability only socialize with other people with disability

Truth: It’s true that everyone likes to be with people who share similar characteristics. But it doesn’t mean that people with disabilities restrict their company only with other people with disability. Most people with disability have family and friends who are not disabled.

Misconception: People with disability have no sense of humor

Truth: Sense of humor merely means the ability to appreciate humor. Everyone likes to be comical and people with disability are no different. Hence, sense of humor is not something restricted to a few people.

These are just a few of the misconceptions we have about people with disability. It’s important that we give a thought about how disability is being portrayed in the society, before having assumptions about it.

(The views and opinions expressed above do not necessarily reflect that of EnAble India.)

Transforming Lives

Profile Picture of Priya Suresh. Nice BIG smile
Priya Suresh is a content writer at EnAble India

“Transforming Lives” is the tag line of a popular brand which is widely advertised. This tag line always impressed me, somehow I love these words. What else can be more impactful than transforming others’ lives in society, right? So how does this popular brand do it? It sells fans, air conditioners, refrigerators and other consumer durables to make life easier.

I too wanted to transform lives, I have always had this itch to do something for society. So when Shanti asked me to join Enable India, I was overjoyed at this opportunity to transform the lives of people with visual impairment, people with hearing impairment and people with physical disabilities. I was doing this by being a content writer. Yeah, I know that doesn’t sound impactful, but that’s the truth. About a year later now I feel I have not transformed any lives. Don’t get me wrong, but the transformation has happened within me.

  • I value time: I got spoilt in the corporate world. Long breaks, luxurious offices, all facilities taken for granted. Well, Enable India’s staff and candidates taught me with little resources we can still work well. Work environment is basic, but full of love and the combination is stimulating.
  • I value people: The “greater than thou” attitude has peeled off. I respect my colleagues who are visually impaired and each new day I am learning from them about acceptance and working on strengths.
  • I understand inclusion: I have learnt in EnAble India that Inclusion is treating your co-worker as an equal. It is about making the office accessible, making all software accessible, thinking creatively for solutions and including everyone with disabilities in our lives.
  • Don’t see the world in black and white: Everyone has a perspective, nothing is right or wrong. Everyone has their own journey of life and that impacts their perceptions about things. Working with people from different socio-economic backgrounds has taught me this.
  • A better human being: In my everyday life I can feel the change that now, I am a more patient mother to my children, a more understanding wife and a friend.
  • Self-transformation: The result is that a lot of self- transformation has taken place. I am more of an optimist now, taking responsibility for my actions. Anger has been substituted with patience and perseverance.

My intention was to transform others lives but this beautiful journey with Enable India has helped to transform my life.I can’t thank EnAble India enough for this transformation.

Nothing is Impossible!

Perseverance, stubbornness, a willingness to learning, taking criticism positively, a hunger to succeed and achieve – all have led Pragathi to reach the pinnacle.

During the early days of Medical Transcription Training, she was so raw and innocent. Gradually, she grew stronger & slowly marched towards independence. At some point, she accepted Medical Transcription as her career and remained dedicated. She offered herself to be moulded. She would always apply any instruction or suggestion given and correct her errors without feeling frustrated. She developed the commitment and made use of every minute during her training.

She did very well during the OJT. She went to Hubli, her native place and tried for a job on her own. She went through four rounds of selection procedure and emerged successful. She got a job at LSI Info Tech, Hubli through her own efforts. She is the first and the only VI in that company. She has created a path for her juniors. With the help of the trainer there, she has metamorphosed into a perfect Medical Transcriptionist.

Today, she is capable of transcribing dictations of 15 doctors with 98% accuracy. Normally, atleast two years are required to reach this stage. But she has DONE IT in a span of about 5 months!

A million thanks to the trainer Mr. Ashraf, QA, LSI Info Tech who has moulded her. This would never happen without his efforts. The company had no prior knowledge about VIs, and no sensitization program had ever been conducted. Their courage and gesture too are highly commendable.

I had the privilege of watching this beautiful transformation in Pragathi. I always believe “NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE.” Pragathi has proved it. She has surpassed all limits. She is a perfect role model for MTVI. Three cheers to her.

MTVI is happening!

— Sujaya Ma’am

Jobs for the Visually Impaired

The term “visually impaired” is usually met with a perception of complete blindness. The common misconception is that such a person is at the mercy of other people because he/she cannot see anything. A stereotype image of a person with dark glasses and a cane persists.

However, there are different types of visual impairment. For example, a person with low vision can see objects, but only if they are large; details may not be easily identifiable.

Today, technology plays a great role in aiding the visually impaired in their day-to-day work. The computer is almost indispensable these days, and there are several tools that are available to help the visually impaired. Two examples are the magnifier, which allows the text on the computer to be
enlarged, and JAWS, which is a popular screen-reading software. All these and more help the visually
impaired to become trained and ready for employment.

There are several jobs that can be taken up by the visually impaired. These include, and are not restricted to, the following:

  • IT – Jobs in Programming, Testing, Production support, and at the Helpdesk
  • ITES (BPOs)– Service Co-ordinator, Telemarketing Executive, Verifier, Helpdesk Executive
  • Functional – HR Executive, Admin Executive, Finance Executive, Telephone
    Operator, Trainer
  • Others – Medical Transcriptionist
  • More than a hundred VI people have been placed in these types of jobs successfully. Any new kind of job is studied carefully, and “workplace solutions” using available tools and process modifications, are devised to ensure that the visually impaired are able to perform their functions in the best possible manner. Adequate training and preparation make the candidates job-ready.

    Thus, visual impairment is neither a deterrent nor a stumbling block to both obtaining and retaining a job.