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Living life on an equal footing

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Ready to face the world: Participants at a training programme.
Ready to face the world: Participants at a training programme.

Deepa Kurup

Persons with disabilities are being trained to make

them employable

BANGALORE: Karthika, a 21-year-old girl who lives in a slum in Lingarajpuram, bubbles with enthusiasm as she speaks about her “new-found professionalism.” She is orthopaedically-challenged, uses crutches to get around and was teaching sign language in a school until she enrolled in a training programme, which landed her a job in Mphasis BPO. “Everyone is really proud of me and I feel like I am on equal footing with the rest of the world,” she says.

She is one of the 20 persons with disabilities who were part of a two-month training course conducted by Mphasis — an EDS company, Diversity & Equal Opportunity Centre (DEOC) and Association of People with Disability (APD). This is a pilot course designed to equip persons with disabilities with soft skills and various other computer and analytical skills to make them employable.

Meenu Bhambani, manager, community initiative at MphasiS, suffers from Polio. She has been working with the company to promote the cause of bringing people with disability into the mainstream. “Things have been changing,” she says. Ms. Bhambani has been more fortunate than others. Having a doctorate and being foreign educated helped, however, she confides that she had to face a “disability NGO” which asked: “How can a patient work for disabled people?”

Lingaraju M.S., a 25-year-old dwarf, lives faraway from his home in Mandya. He is a B.Com. graduate, who would have been a part of the multitudes of physically challenged working informally, had it not been for this opportunity. His voice cracks up with veneration as he talks of his technical support job where he feels comfortable and part of the mainstream world.

His friend Melvin D’costa, who is orthopaedically-challenged, says: “They trained us to face the world.” He calls it a “cooperative world” and says that with his diploma in computer science he dreams of graduating from his current BPO job to software development.

MphasiS has 151 persons with disability on its rolls. The second training batch which started last week has 25 people. Rama Chari, Director, DEOC said: “Most people are disqualified at the interview stage, mainly due to lack of accessible educational and training facilities. The educated ones are from regional language medium schools or do correspondence courses.”

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