Born with speech and hearing disability, 24-year- old Rahul’s tenacity and determination shone through, once he completed his training and gained employment with Hilton in Bangalore, one of the world’s leading hotel chains. The HR Director singles out Rahul for his positivity and speed on the job. Rahul is one of several youth with disabilities that have benefitted from AIF’s Ability Based Livelihood Empowerment (ABLE) program.
The ABLE program is working to integrate persons with disabilities (PwDs) like Rahul into the workforce in a country where less than two percent of the disabled population is employed. The program is guided by the belief that it is one’s ability, not disability, that defines any individual.
Through AIF’s ABLE program, Rahul learned critical workplace skills and specialized skills in hospitality to prepare him for success at the workplace. The hospitality training is enhanced by foundational workplace readiness skills training, from life skills and time management to workplace ethics.
By providing comprehensive training for persons with disabilities that is custom tailored to align with the local economy’s needs, ABLE equips young persons with disabilities with the skills they need to find gainful employment. The program builds capacity of partner NGOs and develops curricula for skills training and work readiness of persons with disabilities— enabling them to have equal, inclusive and dignified livelihoods. The training component is supplemented by advocacy on inclusive human resource practices within corporates, encouraging them to commit to more job opportunities for persons with disabilities and equal opportunities at work.
The Covid-19 crisis has increased the marginalization of and created further barriers for PwDs. Rahul was fortunate to hold on to his job and be able to support his family back home in Uttar Pradesh by sending them some money to help tide things over. He has just one message for the community. “I want to tell all my deaf friends to please come forward and take support of organizations like AIF and make your career and future bright! Try, try, and try until you succeed,” he says.