[AI] Armed with skills, challenged seek jobs from corporates

Rohiet A. Patil patil_rohit at dataone.in
Mon Sep 17 11:07:11 EDT 2007

Dear list, Please find an article from indian express Which is about an acchivment of our NGO Snehankit Association for the non-seeing friends. Comments are welcome. 

Armed with skills, challenged seek jobs from corporates 
Shveta Vashist Gaur
Posted online: Monday , September 24, 2007 at 12:00:00
Updated: Sunday , September 23, 2007 at 11:24:12

To Editor

Pune, september 23 When five of the 11 disabled people in Varanasi died after consuming a poisonous substance nearly two months ago, the incident chilled
thousands of their fellowmen and others who believe in helping the disabled. Fear of losing their makeshift kiosks to an anti-encroachment drive by the
civic body was said to be the reason. 

The incident spurred Snehankit Association for Non-Seeing Friends in Pune to take action. Association chief Rahul Deshmukh - a non-seeing person himself
- decided to stop knocking on government doors and instead approach the corporate sector. To his credit, the plan is working. 

The Government's reservation system was of no help, said Deshmukh. "There is three per cent reservation for the physically challenged in government jobs.
Yet, the ratio of employment amongst us is not rising," he said. 

"Last year, the government started filling up the backlog of 16,000 vacant seats from the quota of physically challenged people after an NGO filed a writ
petition. But there were so many fraud recruitments made wherein people proved themselves to be physically challenged on minor grounds, which did not help
many with more serious disabilities," he added. 

He took up the challenge and has trained around 100 visually challenged people in computer programmes and called employees from Infosys to teach computer
languages on the special software for the blind. "We do not want sympathy, we want opportunity," said Deshmukh. The organisation extends help to the physically
challenged also. 

Among them was polio-afflicted B Com graduate Dinesh Dashrat Gujjar desperately wanting to support his widowed mother and two younger brothers. He approached
UGC Logistics owner Amit Suhas Dhole who gave him a front office job at his workplace in Dapoli. Today, Gujjar earns Rs 5,000 a month and has taken up
data entry too. 

"I went to several places in search of a job last year. After calling me, they would take one look and wind up the interview. Others would interview me,
but refuse to hire me," said Gujjar, who did a three-month computer course after graduating from Ramkrishna More College in Pimpri-Chinchwad and travelled
to far-flung places looking for work despite mobility problems. 

That's when Dhole made the offer. "We were already thinking of creating jobs for the physically challenged. When Rahul (Deshmukh) approached me, I decided
to experiment," he said. "If this works out, I will recruit more people. We are also planning to alter our working system to benefit the ones who can't
hear but can see. I plan to build a small visual section." 

Deshmukh, who has had a hard life, had to stay on platforms of railway stations after completing his standard X. 

"This is when I realised there was no representation from our section and despite capabilities we were fighting an unending battle," said the 27-year-old. 


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