By OUR STAFF REPORTER
DEHRADUN, 14 Dec: The Dehradun Disability Forum and the Latika Roy Foundation organised a symposium on Strategies to Enable Employment for People with Disability, here, today. The subject is of critical significance given that only about 0.1 million of about 70 million disabled people in India are currently employed, despite the Rights of People with Disabilities Act, 2016, which stipulates that 3% of government jobs must be reserved for disabled people. Furthermore, India must provide full and productive employment and decent work for people with disability if it is to achieve the global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to which it is committed.
The first speaker was Dr Liliana Mayo, founder and general director of Centro Ann Sullivan del Perú, an organisation that serves people with developmental disabilities and their families. Dr Mayo, a professor of special education at the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú and Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, is a frequent speaker on parent and sibling training, supported employment opportunities for people with developmental disabilities, inclusion and distance education.
The second speaker, who joined on Skype, was Aradhana Lal, Vice President, Sustainability Initiative at the Lemon Tree Group of Hotels. The company is widely acclaimed for its recruitment of people it calls “opportunity-deprived Indians”, including those with special needs, and young people from deeply disadvantaged economic and social backgrounds, such as orphans raised in institutional care. “There is no charity in all of this,” she said. “This is not done as charity or corporate social responsibility. It is part of our business model and it has become our culture.”
While diversity in the workplace benefits people with disability, enabling them to participate more equally and independently in the world, it also offers significant advantages to employers. Employees with disability have been found to show above-average motivation, thereby generating few costs in the long term. They are accustomed to confronting daily challenges whose solutions require creativity and persistence, both qualities required by an enterprise even without disabled people. Inclusive organisations demonstate responsible corporate citizenship that benefits not only customers but employees, thereby attracting the best of both.
By OUR STAFF REPORTER