VIJAYAWADA: M Lakshmi, 22, a resident of Hyderabad is both deaf and dumb. Similarly, U Gopi, 26, of Vijayawada is partially blind. Apart from the physical disabilities, they have another thing in common.
They have jobs in reputed companies and as they shared their experience - the agony they went through as differently abled, their struggle to stand on their own feet and their final success - with other disabled young men and women, present in the Able + Corporate Connect meet, organised by Youth4Jobs (Y4J) in a city hotel on Friday, to help them acquire necessary job skills needed to find employment, they proved that disability was not a handicap.
Even in her wildest dreams, Lakshmi never thought that she, in spite of being disabled, would get a job in such a reputable organisation as Schneider Electric. “Schneider Electric. This is the place where I work. Never thought I would stand on my feet, despite my disabilities,” said a visibly happy Lakshmi. She said that after completing her college degree she came to know about Y4J and enrolled with them and got the job after completing a two-month training programme for people with disabilities (PWD).
U Gopi, the Vijayawada man, has a similar tale to share. “I came to know that there are opportunities for people like us. With the help of Y4U, I got placed in the Metro Outlet in Vijayawada,” he said.
During the meeting, several youths with disabilities shared their experiences of being employed and the difficulties they faced to get a job.Addressing the gathering present, Gopal Garg, co-founder Y4J, said that many companies had rejected their proposal of hiring PWD initially. “After we proved that PWD can do work, on par with common people with the same ease, companies came forward and gave opportunities to the candidates,” he said.
In the Corporate Connect meet, in which several stakeholders, including seven corporate entities, took part, Y4J asked the representatives of the corporate entities to hire people with disabilities in their companies. Representatives of Lifestyle, D-Mart, Walmart-Best Price, Synchrony Financial, Schneider Electric, Apex and Axis Bank took part in the meet.
However, responding to the request made by Y4J to hire persons with disabilities, some companies, among those present, expressed their interest in hiring PWDs every year. “We have formed a group called PDN- People with Disability Network and have hired 130 persons from the group. In future, there will be more recruitments,” said K Ranganadh, an official of Synchrony Financial.