Wednesday, 4 December 2013
Indian Inclusion Summit Helps Disabled Persons Help Themselves
When Siddarth Jayakumar, NCPEDP-Shell
awardee, spoke to over 750 persons at the second edition of the
Indian Inclusion Summit
2013, he meant business. "Employment is a very complicated process in India because we're working with global leaders with different thoughts. The focus should be to convince leaders to recruit people with disabilities and train them so that they can contribute to business."
He should know - he suffers from
but now a bank manager.
India's first woman IPS officer
echoed his views: "The private sector must increase the number of disabled recruits as the new Companies Act binds them to spend 2% of earnings towards corporate social responsibility. Why not help corporates identify how they can spend this money to train people with disabilities and then recruit them or enable recruitment elsewhere? The government can enforce this because it has wider reach but NGOs too can step in. An employment exchange for the disabled would be great."
The summit aims at spreading awareness and sensitising people to develop employment opportunities for the differently-abled. It's bigger than last year, collecting Rs 27 lakh in funds compared to Rs 12 lakh last year.
VR Ferose, senior VP, globalization services, SAP AG said, "Our project Prayas (which trains disabled people for jobs in SAP) will be scaled up to Delhi, Coimbatore and Kashmir from this year. We're also building an e-learning platform with Enable India. We're also scaling up the Music Therapy School for kids with autism."
The IIC board is also creating a database of disabled persons. The summit's Mission Rio 2016 is designed to send deaf-and-mute wrestler Virender Singh to the Rio Paralympics in 2016.
They dared to dream
Malavika Iyer Master of Ceremonies
At 13, she lost her hands and her legs became twisted when she handled a bomb shell on May 26, 2002. Now, at 24, she's confidently walks on to the stage wearing her prosthetic hands. "For about two years, I hated people staring at me and despaired if I would get married. Then, I decided to study and write my board exams. I was a state topper and suddenly stardom smiled on me - I'd give so many interviews," said Malvika. She's a trained Kathak dancer, a swimmer, an Economics graduate from St Stephen's College, Delhi and Master's in Social Work from Delhi University. Her MPhil project was on quality of life of people with orthopaedic challenges in rehab centres and now she's pursuing her doctorate. "When people ask me, 'What life do you have?', I tell them, 'Your life is more monotonous than mine'," she said.
Sundeep Rao Stand –Up Comedian
Loss of central vision when he was nine years old never really bothered Bangalore-based Sundeep Rao, whose comic foresight is rather sharp. "I woke up one morning with this problem. My parents took me to many doctors but nobody could figure out what had gone wrong. I also had peripheral vision loss, which is stable," says Sundeep. "Stand-up comedy helps me express what life has been to me. Some people have made unkind comments due to their lack of understanding but I find solace in doing what I do," says Sundeep. This sociology and political science graduate says Bangalore is very disabled-unfriendly. "I'm very scared to walk on the footpath; there are no ramps, and the public transport is quite unfriendly,"he said
Siddarth Jayakumar Bank Manager
* For a person affected by cerebral palsy three days after birth, becoming a bank manager seemed impossible. But Chennai-based Siddharth Jayakumar knew he had to get there. "All I wanted was to study something that would get me a job and so did my Masters in Economics," says Siddharth. "My fight started when I wanted to move from the special school to a regular one. I had to convince the principal about it. There was no looking back after that till I got stuck for a job. I appeared for many interviews, but kept getting rejected. I got my first break at ABN Amro Bank," he said. He's now an associate manager at IndusInd Bank. "I want to change people's minds and convince them that those with disabilities can make a difference.
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