In an effort to bring persons with disability into the mainstream of the society and to provide them a platform to attain economic independence, a job fair was held here by National Trust (for the Welfare of Persons with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Mental Retardation and Multiple Disabilities) on Friday.

The job fair was attended by 109 members, including 68 persons with mental retardation, 29 with multiple disability count, 10 with cerebral palsy and one each under mental retardation with deaf and dumb count and mental illness count. Eighty candidates, of them 13 were women, walked away with appointment orders.

Speaking at the valedictory function, Dinesh Ponraj Oliver, District Collector (in- charge), said that he was honoured to be part of the event and promised all support from the district administration to promote livelihood opportunities for the differently-abled. He distributed appointment orders.

P. Balasubramanian, Commissioner of Police, said that disability was not a condition but a state of feeling and asked the parents of the persons with disability not to lose confidence and make efforts for their betterment in all forms.

C. Ramasubramanian, State Nodal Officer, District Mental health Programme, said that Tamil Nadu government had done a lot to improve the conditions of the disabled. It was necessary to create jobs for them as it would give them a lot of confidence, pride and a sense of self-esteem, and said that these efforts were a sort of silent revolution. Dr. Ramasubramanian also added that to gain the support of family members, a Family Federation for the Disabled will be started soon.

K.M. Kanagaraj, District Disabled Rehabilitation Officer, promised to the employers that a committee headed by Dr. Ramasubramanian would do an assessment once a month on the work done by the persons appointed and sort out if there were any problems. He also said that the transport charges from the workplace to the home of all the persons appointed would be borne by the District Disabled Rehabilitation Office.

D. Dhanushkodi, vice-president, Tamil Nadu Chamber of Commerce, spoke.

Madhumathi Achuthan, Director, Spastic Society of Tamil Nadu, Chennai, distributed Niramaya Health Insurance Scheme cards and said that the card holders would be eligible for medical assistance of Rs. 1 lakh each year. Families with a monthly income of less than Rs.15,000 need not pay premium, and those with more than Rs.15,000 must pay Rs.250.

Hotel Temple City, J.K. Maas Foundation, Aparajitha Corporate Service, Hi-Tech Arai Limited, Fortune Pandyan Hotel, Teddy Special School, S.A. Kids Wears, Susee Automobiles, Shakthi Press, M.S. Chellamuthu Trust and Research Foundation, Nambikkai self-help group, Udhayam Gramodaya Sangam and Kalyani Associates were the organisations that participated in the job fair.

The fair was jointly organised by District Disabled Rehabilitation Office, All Special Schools and M.S.Chellamuthu Trust and Research Foundation and supported by Spastic Society of Tamil Nadu.

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