~It is one’s ability, not disability that defines an individual~
Bangalore, March 19, 2019: Over 50 representatives from the corporate sector participated at an employer engagement seminar organized by the American India Foundation (AIF) and Cheshire Disability Trust (CDT). The seminar titled “Diversity in the Workforce” provided a platform to understand the challenges and share best practices of employers in hiring diversified work force in terms of Persons with Disabilities (PwDs), especially Women with Disabilities and also brainstorm ways to promote inclusion of PwDs in the formal workforce.
The key address was presented by the chief guest Shri V.S. Basavaraju, State Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities, Government of Karnataka. With the support of Tarsadia Foundation-USA and Circle of Hope, Boston, AIF advocates for inclusive growth in India through the inclusion of persons with disabilities in the workforce and acceptance of disabilities within larger communities.
Other eminent guests present during the event included Meenu Bhambhani, VP & Head – CSR, Mphasis, Rama Chari, Director, Diversity & Equal Opportunity Centre (DEOC), Bipendra Gupta, General Manager, Lemon Tree Hotels, and Jyothi Ganapathi, Accenture. Addressing the participants, Shri V.S. Basavaraju, State Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities said “We need to talk about diversity in not just one particular sector, but diversity across all other sectors that are equally important for people with disabilities to be able to have a meaningful life. The Government is committed to doing its best. Collaboration and convergence seems to be the mantra to make this happen.”
On the occasion Mathew Joseph, Country Director, AIF said “In a country where less than 2% of its disabled are employed, AIF is revolutionizing the industry paradigm in India by providing equal opportunity and access to employment for persons with disabilities. Participation from the corporate sector is crucial in promoting inclusion of PwDs, especially women with disabilities at workplace.”
The panel discussion on “Hiring Persons with Disabilities Makes Business Sense” revolved around the institutionalization of hiring persons with disabilities in the workforce and making it a sustained effort. Best practices based on experiences were shared by panelists from Mphasis, Accenture and Lemon Tree Hotels, where hiring PwDs is part of their recruitment process and is embedded in the organizational policy. The enablers for making it happen were also shared to allow the audience to know both that what and how of promoting inclusion in their workplaces.
AIF’s Ability Based Livelihood Empowerment (ABLE) works with persons with disabilities by providing skill development training and creating employment opportunities for a sustainable livelihood. Since its inception, ABLE has trained more than 14,000 PwDs. With specialized curriculum development for the visually impaired, hearing impaired and orthopedically impaired, ABLE combines assistive technologies and workplace solutions with career counselling. ABLE also builds the capacity of NGOs across India to ensure equal opportunities for all PwDs.
About AIF: The American India Foundation is committed to catalyzing social and economic change in India, and building a lasting bridge between the United States and India through high-impact interventions in education, livelihoods, public health, and leadership development. Working closely with local communities, AIF partners with NGOs to develop and test innovative solutions and with governments to create and scale sustainable impact. Founded in 2001 at the initiative of President Bill Clinton following a suggestion from Indian Prime Minister Vajpayee, AIF has impacted the lives of 4.6 million of India’s poor. Learn more at www.AIF.org
AIF’s Ability Based Livelihood Empowerment (ABLE) program trains persons with disabilities (PwDs) and facilitates their entry into the job market through advocacy, promoting inclusive growth in India. With specialized curriculum development for the visually developed (massage therapy), hearing impaired (retail and hospitality) and orthopedically impaired (mobility); the ABLE program combines assistive technologies and workplace solutions with career counselling, while building the capacity of NGOs across India to ensure equal opportunities (SDG 10) for all Persons with Disability (PwDs). Read more about ABLE: https://aif.org/our-work/livelihoods/ability-based-livelihood-empowerment/