Our experience suggests that person with disability when provided vocational training and engaged in a job or a small business, the economic benefit accrues to him and extends to other members of the family. The standard of living of the family in enhanced. The qualitative attributes of being empowered, newly gained self-esteem and an enhanced self-worth is immeasurable.
Over the past few years several corporates/business entities in India through persistent advocacy by organizations like Cheshire Home Mumbai and engaging with them at different levels, have opened up to employ persons with disabilities, perceiving them as a precious human resource rather than receivers of charity. Cheshire Home’s advocacy efforts through ongoing dialogue with leading employers based in Mumbai, Industry associations and engaging with them, we have aimed to create sensitivity amongst the employers about having a ‘Diverse Workforce.’ In this context Cheshire Home Mumbai together with India’s leading Industry Confederation, conducted a Conference titled “Towards Inclusive Employment” in the recent past, attended by a number of Human Resource and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) professionals of various companies. We have also conducted a workshop for Media Houses in Mumbai on how Media’s positive coverage of successes of persons with disabilities at work and in other areas like sports, music etc. can potentially develop healthy attitude among members of the society at large towards Persons with Disabilities.
We have been largely successful in creating awareness amongst several employers and have sought jobs for Persons with Disabilities, through regular recruitments, recruitment drives and job fairs, followed by workplace integration of PWDs and workplace sensitization sessions. Cheshire Home organises Job fairs often in collaboration with Govt. bodies, NGOs and Industry Associations/Federations.
As part of sustainable livelihood programme, that endeavours to economically empower persons with disabilities, Cheshire Home undertakes the following on an ongoing basis:
1. Foundation Training: The foundation training is the first level of preparatory intervention as part of the Livelihood programme that covers areas like interview skills, interpersonal skills and attitude, work etiquettes, job readiness and workplace challenges. This training is conducted at Cheshire Home and offsite locations in Mumbai and surrounding areas.
2. Job Oriented, Sector Specific Trainings and Entrepreneurship: Cheshire Home’s Livelihood initiative aims to provide as well as facilitate a variety of trainings that will enable a person with disability to seek self employment or wage employment.
Persons with disability are imparted entrepreneurial skills, sector-specific skills like training in Retail Sector Preparedness, trainings in the areas of manufacturing, repairs and maintenance of electronic accessories, Business Process Outsourcing (BPO), Tailoring, Type writing, Computer Literacy, English Language, Beautician Courses and such other employment oriented trainings.
The trainings were provided to the persons with disabilities at the premises of Cheshire Home or at the communities depending on the need. The project also facilitates trainings through referrals to other organisations including mainstream training/vocational centres, with due consideration to practical challenges i.e. of accessibility, mobility and financial incapability on part of the beneficiary. The primarily focus has been on the beneficiaries’ interest and inclination towards a specific skill that could potentially get them employed or enable to start a micro-venture of their own.
3. Self Employment: PWDs are assisted with small seed grants from the project and loan/grant facilitation from other sources to start small enterprises in Mumbai and Thane. These businesses include trades like petty shops, shoe repair stall, vegetable vending, florist kiosk, snacks stall and preparation, provision shop, DTP centre, photocopy, home based tailoring, flour grinding, freelance electrical and electronics repairing works and other licensed/authorized hawking of petty utility products.
4. Wage employment (Jobs): People with disabilities are on an ongoing basis placed in wage employment in areas of Hospitality, Retail, IT/ITes, manufacturing across functional areas like, accounting, cashiering, packaging, professional cutter/master (with clothing manufacturer),customer interface/front office, retail outlet shop floor attendant, merchandise, design and graphics, back office, kitchen backend in food retail chains/outlets etc.
5. Job Fairs and Recruitment Drives: Cheshire Home in collaboration with other NGOs, govt. organisations and industry associations organizes job fairs. generating
In addition to the job fairs, recruitment drives have been an ongoing activity as part of Cheshire Home’s livelihood work. In addition Cheshire Home also undertakes need based sensitization of current as well as prospective employers and workplace peer sensitization with the aim of smooth transition of a newly placed person with disability within a new environment. A regular follow up programme exists to address the challenges, if any.