QUEEN'S ROAD: Many multinational companies in Bengaluru are throwing their doors open to people with disability.
Lalitha V won a best employee award recently. She joined Shell retail as a cashier 11 years ago for a monthly salary of Rs 3,500, and now earns Rs 25,000 as cluster accountant.
A polio victim, she walks with calipers. The B Com graduate completed her MBA in finance after joining the company. “I thought it would be difficult at first but my company and colleagues are so friendly and supportive. They motivate me to work harder. I spend most of my time at work now,” she told City Express.
Surjeet Singh says he was the first differently-abled employee to be hired by Bosch. After completing his 10th standard, he joined them as an apprentice in 1989. He now works as senior engineer in the documentation department.
He had to stand for eight hours at a stretch for a vocational training workshop. “When I joined, people were not so sure, but I assured them I could do my work, and here I am,” he said. Over the years he worked on his disability and slowly stopped using his calipers.
Calibers to sports
A sports enthusiast, he has represented India at the paralympics. He has won 180 medals so far. He also holds a licence to drive two-wheelers and four-wheelers.
Most recently, he won a silver medal in shot putt at a world championship. “My wife is my inspiration,” he said.
Niranjan Mukundan (21) is receiving a national award from Prime Minister Modi on Thursday. “It’s a great feeling,” he said. Niranjan, who has undergone 16 operations for disability, has just completed his B Com.
IBM India has won a national award for ‘creation of a barrier-free environment for persons with disabilities.’
Their fire alarms use audio and video, and modify desks to suit the height to employees. They also provide dedicated cabs, ramps, parking, and rest rooms.
The company also uses Braille signs, and has installed an audio guide in lifts to help the visually impaired.
“Even fire drills involve people with disability,” said D P Singh, Vice President and HR Head, IBM India, South Asia.
Shamitha U N (14) suffers from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. As a remedy, she started swimming when she was eight.
“She wasn’t interested at first. She saw the Olympics on TV and asked me what she should do to appear on TV. I told her she could learn swimming, participate in the paralympics and appear on TV. She is now taking classes at Pooja Aquatics Centre,” said her mother Ambika.
Shamitha has recently won four gold medals at the state level. She has also won medals at the national paralympics.
Vindhya e-Infomedia, a Bengaluru-based BPO, currently employs 1,400 people with disability at various levels. They are orthopedically challenged, hearing and visually impaired and mildly autistic. “This day is not to celebrate disability but to celebrate ability in them,” said Pavithra Y S, owner of Vindhya e-Infomedia.