People with disability are likely to experience adverse socio economic outcome like less access to education, health facilities, lower level of employment leading to poverty coupled with the ongoing discriminatory prejudice and stigma in society.
The journey towards helping such people started with a small story. I was touched to see how my own friend was bringing up their physically challenged daughter. Their perspective in dealing with such issues completely changed mine. One of the most valuable advice i received from them was to not pity these kids or treat them as ‘others’ but to make ways for their acceptance in society providing them the platform to receive proper education. Ultimately making them individuals who are confident, who are achievers and who are given equal opportunities to study and work.
Later during my tenure at Accenture , a significant step was initiated to tackle the issues around disability. With encouragement from Kannan Sundaresan Managing Director Accenture Operations, I took up as People with Disability Champion. It was an eye opener not just for me but for many others at Accenture. As someone, who believed a lot needs to done around such issues, I decided to participate in the marathon arranged as part of this programme. After 20years I ran 10k in 80 mins to support this cause and my family and friend’s donated too. It was a feeling of hope, and this was the first baby step I took.
This was followed by Antoinette Lopez , head Accenture Corporate Social Responsibility and Anant Krishnan , Managing Director Global Delivery Network for Technology supporting the idea of training the people with disability in developing technical skills. This idea kicked off with computer training session and developing ideas on how can we make them employable. This involved viewing the world through their eyes, understanding their sign language, and above all believing in myself that the change could happen in the most positive way. Another crucial role for me was to communicate the various ways we can make a difference to our people. The starting point was awareness sessions conducted for employees explaining them the ways we can help make a better future for them.
Later my friend introduced me to Samarthanam, the experience I would share later.
In the end, its all about giving them the right to experience what they deserve by taking a small step. An attempt to treat them as equal and ensure that opportunities are to be made available for everyone in the society. It started with running a marathon and then opened so many ways in which I could contribute to their advancement. They can be Trained in IT, Business Process Management, Hospitality and Retail, English and MS Office and therefore providing them the access to technology can be the greatest confidence booster. What are your thoughts?