At the Community Hall in Perambur, it was a lesson in what self-confidence could do to a person's self-image. The scores of persons with disabilities who sat in the portico of the hall or climbed to the first floor with their callipers and crutches had only one aim in life: to become insurance consultants for the LIC.

Life Insurance Corporation had organised a job fair for persons with disabilities on Saturday. Of 163 candidates who participated, 142 were provisionally selected, said Development Officer Noor Muhammed Sheriff.

Those selected have been called for an interview after which they would be given training for eight days. Following this, the candidates would appear for an examination conducted by the Insurance Regulatory Development Authority. On clearing the examination, they would receive a licence to work as insurance agents from the IRDA that is valid for three years.

The participants from several parts of the city had come without anticipating the difficulty that they would face at the venue. The meeting with the LIC officials was organised on the first floor of the building which had neither an elevator nor a ramp. Most people climbed the stairs while a few waited at the portico. The organisers had, however, installed speakers on the ground floor too.

LIC's Senior Divisional Manager R. Srinivasan explained the role of insurance and various products.

District Employment Officer R. Devendiran said that only those who had passed class XII or had a degree had been called for the fair. Disability is no deterrent as there is technology to rely on, he told the candidates.

“You can use your influence, send messages on mobile phones, develop contact through the Internet and just call up people,” he said.

Mr. Sheriff said, “We will be there to guide them. We will go with the candidates and help them until they learn the marketing skills.”

S. Jayachandran who came by an autorickshaw from K.K. Nagar had to crawl up the stairs. But, he epitomised the spirit of the candidates at the fair. “I have come with self-confidence. I have a home appliances service centre and can manage this as it will involve only desk work for me. I came because this is a government job,” he said. He was selected for the next round of interview.

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