There are over 70 million persons with disabilities in India, yet just 100,000 are employed. This creates a huge burden on those families with a disabled family member, especially for families on the lower end of the income scale. However, in a very large number of cases there is no reason that these individuals should be excluded from the labour market. Last week I visited EnAble India, an NGO working in Bangalore to provide skills training and job placements to persons with disabilities. EI work with people who are hearing impaired, vision impaired and those with mental disabilities. Not only do they provide employment skills such as computing, language, and quality checking, they also provide various life skills, mobility training, psychological evaluations and counselling.
Many vision impaired people in India are uncomfortable using a cane due to the stigma attached to it, making it incredible difficult for them to get around unassisted. EI teaches candidates that there is no shame in using a cane and provides training in best use. The organisation takes groups out to various places in Bangalore such as parks, shopping malls and temples, often places where they would never have been able to go before.
Many candidates coming to EI already know what kind of work they want to do. In most cases EI will work with the candidate to ensure that they develop the skills needed for this role. In some cases, when the ambitions of the candidate do not match up with their capabilities, EI will work with the candidate to find a more suitable role for them and provide them with the training needed for this role. Finally, once the candidate is fully prepared to enter the job market, EI will set up interviews for them and find a suitable placement. This is followed by regular contact throughout the job where any issues from either the candidate or the company can be discussed and resolved.
EnAble India work with over 300 companies including big names such as IBM, Thomson Reuters and Café Coffee Day, both in Bangalore and other parts of India, and have placed over 1800 candidates so far. These placements have been so successful that some companies are now offering to pay a finder’s fee to EI for providing such qualified and motivated employees. EnAble India would be a fantastic organisation for a 2Way Development placement, and we hope to be sending our first volunteer there very soon.