According to the International Labor Organization, one out of every seven people in the world has a disability, and approximately 27 million people with disabilities live in India. 60% are able to take care of themselves without any assistance, and yet 60% are unemployed. Attitudes about disabilities often range from dismissiveness to avoidance to fear, and many disabled in India still battle a stigma when it comes to professional employment. As a result, people with disabilities face much difficulty finding professional employment and caring for themselves and their families. Of those who do find work, an overwhelming 98.5% work in the informal economy, lacking access to many social and financial services.
Ability-Based Livelihood Empowerment (ABLE) responds to these challenges by working to ensure that persons with disabilities are able to obtain equal, inclusive and dignified livelihoods. AIF’s Market Aligned Skills Training (MAST) Program has worked towards skill development and access to employment for persons with disabilities since 2010. Empowering India’s differently-abled, ABLE builds skillsets and facilitates access to employment, while also promoting acceptance of disabilities in the larger community.
Like its parent program, Market Aligned Skills Training (MAST), ABLE conducts a labor market scan in each region, working closely with employers to develop the market-aligned training curricula that form the heart of the program’s skills training. ABLE supports and builds the capacity of NGOs working specifically with persons with disabilities, and develops curricula for sectors of employment where the differently-abled can find employment. The program also creates a common platform for the employment of persons with disabilities, bringing together multiple stakeholders from governments, NGOs, and private sector industries to promote and advocate for disability inclusion.
VEER showcases the strength and resilience of persons with disabilities who have succeeded in overcoming environmental and attitudinal barriers. In the second year of the VEER campaign, the initiative seeks to raise funds for skills training and employment support for more than 2,000 persons with disabilities. The campaign will also generate awareness and advocate for inclusion of people with disabilities in employment and in greater society. The funds raised through this campaign from public and corporate partners will be channeled to AIF as the sole implementation partner.