The Indian Economy Blog

July 31, 2007

Does ‘Disabled’ Have To Mean ‘Invisible’?

Filed under: Business,Health,Human Capital,Labour market,Miscellaneous — Shefaly @ 3:46 pm

I have worked in India and in Indian organisations abroad for a large part of my professional career. However when I think back I cannot recall more than 2 physically disabled colleagues during that entire time. Mind you, I am a sociable kind of person so my visual – and conversational – range extended beyond my own team, department and floor.

If you work in an average corporate environment, and if you were to conduct a similar exercise in recall and in observation, you will probably come up with a similarly small number.

Does this mean disability of all kinds have been eradicated in India? Clearly not, because at every traffic light stop, we have all experienced a mix of feelings at averting our gazes from disabled kids dragging themselves perilously between cars to make a few paise. But for the sake of this post, let’s narrow our focus again, just as we avert our gaze from those disabled begging kids.

But before we move forward, here is a working definition of disability which I will draw upon for this post:

A disability is a condition or function judged to be significantly impaired relative to the usual standard of an individual or their group. The term is often used to refer to individual functioning, including physical impairment, sensory impairment, cognitive impairment, intellectual impairment or mental health issue. This usage is associated with a medical model of disability. By contrast, a human rights or social model focuses on functioning as an interaction between a person and their environment, highlighting the role of a society in labelling, causing or maintaining disability within that society, including through attitudes or accessibility favouring the majority. Disabilities may come to people during their life or people may be born disabled.”

Even though it is hard to find reliable statistics on disability in India, most smart people can see that both the commonly cited estimates – 18.5M disabled people according to the Disability Survey of National Sample Survey 2002 and 21.9M disabled people according to the Population Census 2001 – are rubbish.

Why?

For starters, the 2% figure is way off the numbers from other developed nations worldwide. In the UK for instance, nearly 15% of the population self-declares disability. About 18% of the population in the US is estimated to have some form of disability. With these comparators, it is evident that poor data collection rather than real low incidence of disability makes for this low 2% figure.

Further if we take a random piece from data about mental health in India, nearly 4M people in India suffer from schizophrenia, which implies that some 14-17M account for all other disabilities! A headline number of 18-21M is quite easily misleading and an age-based breakdown is even less reliable.

Back to the workplace then. Despite a raft of legislation aiming to protect access – including a National Policy for Persons with Disabilities dating back to 1993 – the participation of disabled people in the workplace remains poor. Even if we were to run, for argument’s sake, with this 2% figure, only an estimated 34% of that are in any kind of employment, excluding almost 2/3 of our disabled population. In this matter, India has plenty of company amongst the developed nations though the percentage of disabled people excluded may not be so large. But that is hardly something to be proud of.

What does it take to make a workplace embrace disabled colleagues, assuming all hygiene factors of work related skills and education are in place?

I think there is a threefold approach which can guide and shape our strategies to be inclusive of our disabled population. The shorthand is APT:

A: Awareness and Attitude
P: Policy and Process
T: Technology

I believe awareness would shape attitudes, and this remains the toughest mountain to climb in this area.

Here is an exercise for you. What is the first visual that pops up in your head when you hear the word ‘disability’?

If you said ‘a wheelchair’, congratulations, because in my series of awkward social experiments, to which my friends and family are often subjected, this has been a consistent find and you fit in the middle in the bell curve.

The truth is that mobility impairment is only a very small percentage of disability. Visual, auditory and speech impairments, mental health issues about which I have written before, and multiple disabilities make up the lion’s share of disabilities.

Disability is not just something one is born with; disability can come with age, life circumstance and from social attitudes towards not enabling access and inclusion. Being aware that disability can manifest in many ways can influence policy and shape processes. For instance, when we advertise open positions, do we signal our desire to hire from a cross-section of society? Do we even declare such intent through, say, a disclaimer at the bottom of the adverts? When we have candidates to interview, do we make them welcome especially if they have special needs such as access to the buildings, use of a special screen etc? Do we have disabled employees on board and do we take their feedback on continually improving our workplace not just at the work station, but in our facilities, our buildings and our environment?

The steps that corporate firms can take need not be limited to policy and process. Assistive (including adaptive and rehabilitative) technologies are here, well, to assist those with impairments of vision, hearing, speech, and mobility. Many NGOs worldwide work to fund the development and to accelerate the adoption of such technologies. Many firms too work in this very profitable niche. What is needed is the vision and the leadership in an organisation to deploy these technologies actively to enable and empower disabled colleagues.

Even as I say this, I am aware that discrimination and exclusion of disabled individuals starts much earlier in life, in primary education and sometimes, at home. Besides disability is not by birth alone and it could happen to any of us! All non-disabled people, who are leaders and managers of today and tomorrow, need to consider this issue.

Creating clear awareness and the right attitude, and ensuring it percolates down in society, is something that can start in the workplace. After all, we all go home from work and new thoughts and positive ideas can be contagious. May be it will catch on?

What do you think?

Some Resources:
Disability India: http://www.disabilityindia.org/
FAST-UK: http://www.fastuk.org/home.php

30 Comments »

  1. [...] Either way, I have written a post today about a framework approach to including disabled colleagues in the workplace over on the Indian Economy blog. You can share your views by clicking this link here. [...]

    Pingback by Does ‘disabled’ have to mean ‘invisible’? « La Vie Quotidienne — July 31, 2007 @ 4:04 pm

  2. I have grown up amidst variously disabled but extremely creative and talented people. Maybe that’s because my parents chose their friends with inclusivity and they came with off-beat mindset.
    But when I reached the work world, my experience hasn’t been any different from yours.
    I have seen that disabled people are often hired for back-end jobs where major stake holders are not affected and are not aware of their disability.
    The solution is probably in giving greater opportunity from childhood and creating greater awareness back then so that a disabled person can be given equal opportunity at the workplace through affirmative action

    Comment by Shreyasi — July 31, 2007 @ 4:14 pm

  3. I do agree that offical reported numbers may not be accurate, but I think our percentage would be smaller then developed countries. In US, many disablities are due to Vehicle Accidents and automation. In India, we don’t have majority population driving cars, hence disability will be small. Also in US, declaring yourself disabled gives host of benefits like previliged parking, and many folks declare minor disability to get such previliges.

    Comment by Shailesh — July 31, 2007 @ 7:02 pm

  4. Your premise that “rubbishes” the statistics of National Sample Survey and Population Census as seen by [self-declared] “smart” people like you just because UK and US has 15% and 18% figures, betrays your poor skills of deduction and reasoning. Data collection process in India is complicated by the fact that our institutions have to pick from a large sample of 1.1 billion people (60% almost illiterate) and a landmass that’s so vast and diverse – makes it all the more complicated.

    You haven’t explained how you vouch for the accuracy of the UK/US data collection figures as accurate – recently even WHO had to halve its figures on India’s HIV population.

    That said, Data collection is a tough task anywhere in the world and will be riddled with inaccuracies. Your arguments totally fall apart and I am still wondering what’s the point of your post…!

    Spare us for god’s sake…

    Comment by Darshan — August 1, 2007 @ 7:28 am

  5. I don’t think the issue is whether the statistics are right or not. (And if Shefaly’s estimate on the stats is wrong, that could be pointed out without jibes, I suppose)

    The issue is really how to make our institutions more inclusive. For this, I think the first thing is attitude to be inclusive. Unfortunately, we are still in a situation, where in certain jobs, for eg, I have seen managers decide that they won’t even interview women, having decided that “women can’t travel”, for instance.

    So inclusivity for disabled people is still a long way off. A beginning would be a clearer understanding of various disabilities and therefore what kind of work can/cannot be handled, what support is required etc. I suppose the respective organizations must be talking to industry about these right? do see if anything on that is available.

    Comment by apu — August 1, 2007 @ 9:17 am

  6. Even I felt the post was all about “wholesale trashing” of Indian statistical institutions than genuine concern for the “disabled”…

    I’d gladly give it a miss.

    Comment by Parmesh — August 1, 2007 @ 9:50 am

  7. Shreyasi:
    Thanks for sharing your experience. I would have liked to know more about the experiences of the people you grew up with, in the workplace and if they have seen things change…

    That said I note your point re back-end jobs. A regular reader of my writing, from Mumbai, who worked in Bhabha Atomic Research Centre all his life, said to me yesterday that larger number of disabled people were seen in government offices than in private sector in India where even jobs, such as secretary and receptionist, are taken by people with a greater ‘glamour’ factor! The point about invisibility is probably brought home even more poignantly… Thanks.

    Shailesh:
    You raise a very important point about the incentives that encourage self-declaration of disability in several nations. However the rest of your point is actually the other way round.

    In the US, CDC data reports that much disability results from chronic health conditions rather than road accidents. In the India, however, according to press citations from ministers of the Government, after diabetes, road accidents are the biggest contributors to disability. Thanks again.

    Darshan:
    Thanks for your note. And thanks for (not) noticing that although I disagree with the number, I do rely on them to make the point of the rest of the post, which is to talk about inclusion of disabled people in the workplace.

    Data collection is a very difficult exercise anywhere. In India, questions about disability were dropped from the census in 1931 (by the British) and it took more than 50 years of lobbying and argumentation after the British left, for the questions to be included back in 2001. The flaw then was definitional and questions asked were so focused on total disability such as total blindness etc that the data thus collected was bound to be unreliable.

    When we can collect accurate data about religious affiliation in the population, which is more likely to change than say, diabetes related podiatric disfigurement and hence reduced mobility, I have to disagree that collecting data about disability – with proper definitions agreed – will be any more difficult. To that extent, it remains a flaw which we should endeavour to correct rather than be upset about on behalf of the whole statistical profession.

    I cited numbers from the US and the UK because some institutions related to human health in these countries are seen as public health benchmark institutions the world over. This refers mainly to the CDC in the US and the NHS in the UK. I have not vouched for their accuracy, merely cited them as comparators and with the backdrop that their populations are not as large as India’s but at least in the case of the US, quite widely dispersed too.

    Thanks for missing the point.

    Apu:
    Thanks for your note. You are right.

    But this sort of special treatment can work both ways. When I worked in India, and travelled often, I was allowed to stay in hotels beyond my level’s entitlement simply because the organisation did not want any responsibility for my ‘safety’ resulting from my being a woman and my entitlement being an unrealistically cheap hotel of some sort in several cities in India. I share this here with the full cognizance that the ‘special’ treatment upset my male colleagues as well as the fact that although it was not right, I managed to negotiate it and well that is business, is it not? But at least I did not have to fight for the job! Your point is taken on board as a very valid one.

    Many NGOs in India are working to create better awareness of the need for inclusion. Whether industry has time to encourage them in these boom times is a different question altogether. The usual way to deliver the message would be ‘awareness’ training organised by HR. Are there any such processes in your organisation or those you know? Do share. Thanks again.

    Parmesh:
    How ironic that you choose to, in one single sentence, engage in ‘wholesale trashing’ of a post that was not about statistics at all! Thanks for reading it, even though you would rather give it a miss.

    Comment by Shefaly — August 1, 2007 @ 11:14 am

  8. If one in six Britons and one in five Americans are “declaring themselves disabled” then I think I have a good idea what is going on there. If we start using the same liberal criteria to declare a similar proportion of Indians disabled, I have a good idea who will be the actual beneficiaries. Pity about the people who are actually blind, crippled or handicapped in other ways.

    Comment by Ravikiran — August 1, 2007 @ 11:55 am

  9. Ravikiran: Thanks for sharing your thoughts. One could argue if a more realistic definition i.e. where the functioning of the human being is impeded by physical or mental problems, will necessarily be the same as liberal criteria. In the UK, an estimated 6M people also are carers, to disabled and ill persons. Many of these carers are unpaid and carry out caring duties in addition to their jobs and other responsibilities, so mere self-declaration does not mean automatic and guaranteed entitlement to any and all kinds of benefits

    However sad as it may be, I agree that should such self-declaration and entitlement to benefits should come pass in India, the real beneficiaries may not be those who truly need help.

    That said, I had started out by discussing those disabled people who are educated and skilled and therefore can work but do not find jobs. Private sector employment and state-provided benefits are two separate ways to be more inclusive, don’t you agree? My post was not about promoting benefits but about inclusion towards self-sufficiency and economic productivity.

    Thanks again.

    Comment by Shefaly — August 1, 2007 @ 12:30 pm

  10. Work places usually share one matter considered to be very important, image. A lot has to do with the image of a company, a work place. I belief the problem here is narrow-mindedness. As you mentioned, the word wheelchair is instantly being linked with disability. We live in a materialistic world where often problems are thought to be too straight-forward.
    Companies, unfortunately, tend to put in all their effort to make their business look perfect and the best achievable. They miss the ability to see through the wheelchair etc. They fail to see the actual presence of talent and the ability. Therefore I reckon most of us will share the same experience when it comes to disability in work places. Possible problem solution? Make the world more aware and more familiar with the term disability in daily life. Social awareness is a key to understanding which eventually will lead to better cooperation between both groups of people. The disabled people and the ignorant ones.

    Comment by Roel — August 1, 2007 @ 8:46 pm

  11. Roel:
    Thanks for your thoughts. What you write is probably reflective of our approach today but looking ahead, I am not sure continued exclusion is the way forward for a society. Thanks.

    Loknath:
    The purpose of most writing is to start a discussion, to introduce a bee in a cool bonnet. Here the issue was inclusion of disabled persons in the Indian workplace. Whether the statistical data are valid or questionable; whether my questioning of them is disrespectful or whether not questioning them is plain intellectual laziness – all these are valid enquiries. But above all the purpose was to get people thinking about disability and the workplace. If we are to start a discussion, how can it be conclusive?

    Statistics may be not be accurate but they provide a placeholder to start exploring the extent of a problem.

    You say “Being Physically and mentally fit is not a precondition that such people are productive” which is my point too.

    Alas, not every disabled person is Stephen Hawking whose MND-introduced impaired mobility, as you may know, set in when he was nearing the completion of his PhD and was already seen as an intellectual. How many disabled persons, who do not even get a decent start in life, can reach that stage? It is also worth asking whether his life would have turned out the way it did, if his MND had struck him in childhood.

    Professor Hawking achieved what he did not just on account of his genius but also through the efforts of a very supportive wife and family, a group of close friends and his graduate students, who do a lot for him and also protect him (the sight of him in his motorised chair zooming down a Cambridge road is one that makes otherwise-manic taxi and car drivers slow down because they all care for him!). Academia however is an unusual environment. It is worth asking though how he would have functioned in an ordinary corporate workplace.

    Seeing him is a rare treat in Cambridge, hearing him speak even rarer (the last he spoke in my faculty was about Goedel some 4 years ago). In both however, technology has played and continues to play a not-insignificant enabling role.

    The common thread holding it all together was a great deal of awareness, positive attitude and a willingness to act in his family and friends. His intellect was visible beyond his disability and that was a bonus.

    Thanks for stopping by.

    Comment by Shefaly — August 1, 2007 @ 10:15 pm

  12. Shefaly:

    I didn’t mean to suggest continued exclusion is the best possible solution. On the contrary. What I meant to say, was that people (read: the companies, employers) should look beyond disability as their idea of disability is one that is not real. The wheelchair is not the only demonstration of disability, eventhough they think it is. The disabled should be given equal opportunities as everyone else, as they might just be as valuable in a certain work area as the rest of the employees, if not more valuable and more talented because many among them féél as if they have to compensate for their i.e physical restrictions.

    Therefore we shouldn’t even be talking in a group form. There shouldn’t be made any difference between disabled people and other people as it causes a gap to form between them. The only difference we should be able to demonstrate is the one between one’s disability and another’s ability. When it comes to human rights, law, work, etc, there shouldn’t be any influence caused by one’s disability.

    Comment by Roel — August 2, 2007 @ 12:02 am

  13. I’d like to rephrase my sentence above. The only difference we should be able to demonstrate. Obviously we shouldn’t be able to demonstrate it, but the only difference we could be talking about, the only one we could notice is the one between one’s disability and one’s ability.

    Comment by Roel — August 2, 2007 @ 12:04 am

  14. Roel: I am sorry if I suggested you meant that status quo was the way forward. You did not, but without addressing the issue systemically today we will continue in our exclusionary ways for a while…

    Your point about differentiating between one’s disability and one’s ability. That is a very nuanced point. Do you think the current ‘boom time’ India has time to stop and ponder over these issues?

    Thanks again.

    Comment by Shefaly — August 2, 2007 @ 11:05 am

  15. In another illustration of how a supportive ecosystem can lead to an entirely different, positive, inclusive, value-adding life experience for a disabled person, I came across this post today. Perhaps it is worth a click-through:

    http://waternoice.com/2007/07/15/the-show-must-go-on-wheels-within-wheels/

    Comment by Shefaly — August 2, 2007 @ 3:24 pm

  16. [...] Preferential Treatment in the Workplace? Recently, Shefaly at the Indian Economy Blog, had a piece on the need for Indian workplaces to become more inclusive of disabled people as employees. I wrote in a slightly tangential comment, that, …The issue is really how to make our institutions more inclusive. For this, I think the first thing is attitude to be inclusive. Unfortunately, we are still in a situation, where in certain jobs, for eg, I have seen managers decide that they won’t even interview women, having decided that “women can’t travel”, for instance. [...]

    Pingback by Preferential Treatment in the Workplace? « Cubically Challenged — August 2, 2007 @ 7:18 pm

  17. Hi Shefaly, I certainly like your posts and your attitude to discuss issues with even the worst offenders of yours.

    My most memorable experience about disabled persons came while working in a Canadian university. Our dept genitor was mentally challenged, and would ask everyone’s name each day morning before greeting them with “good morning”. One fine Sunday morning I found this man walking onto my bus dressed immaculately in a full white suite, with his golf kit. he explained to the bus driver (who knew this genitor over years) that he was going to play golf today.

    I can not imagine this to happen in India, why people would not even allow such a man to work (why allow him to work instead of so many ‘sound’ men around). we call our country the birth-place of culture, but there is so much to learn from countries like Canada, the kind of dignity given to everyone over there and the public awareness about such issues.

    Given that some 15-20% people in India have some mild psychiatric disorder (my mother has one, i believe i have a mild OCD), we need to be more aware towards disabilities and need to grow our understanding (not “pity”) about the disabled people.

    I now work in Goa, and one socially aware minister has made all government buildings accessible to disabled people, including elevators, toilets, and special access points. That is the best government decision so far in India regarding disability.

    – ashish

    Comment by ashish — August 5, 2007 @ 8:42 am

  18. Ashish: Thanks for reading, sharing your views and your kind words.

    A fellow blogger, who read this post, said that to a great extent, the reincarnation belief is so ingrained in Indians that many probably blame the disabled for their disabilities, for their ill deeds in a past birth. That was one angle that had honestly not even crossed my mind!

    However trying to understand what shapes our prejudices and what our lack of awareness does (or does not) achieve are, in my view, less important than beginning to change those views and becoming more inclusive.

    As you can see in the preceding comments, the statistics of prevalence are widely argued so your 15-20% number is sure to cause some disagreement amongst readers of the blog. But if it is true, are we really a smart nation excluding so many people from economically productive possibilities when we are all enthused to create some economic miracle today?

    Your Goa story is great! That is true leadership indeed. Political will is one of the key enablers in making legislative change (including in asking the right questions about disability in the census questionnaire!).

    Thanks again for stopping by.

    Comment by Shefaly — August 5, 2007 @ 1:55 pm

  19. Hi Shefaly/ Ashish

    Its nice to see your view points on such a sensitive subject.

    Let me share an enriching experience with you guys. I am a consultant in one of the software firm, and I have been to a client’s place in Bangalore for an implementation. The organization belonged to a BPO industry(this is important). I had a privileged opportunity to work with one physically challenged gentleman there. I am to this day amazed at his energy. He was the focal point of any happenings there. People just flock around him and talk to him on just about anything. Not for a moment would you associate him with disability, rather I could feel the respect he commanded with his ability.

    I would like to draw two points from the above experience.

    1. Times have changed and so have individuals and organizations. People are educated enough to realize that disability has nothing to do with previous incarnation and that disability is not a curse on the society. I think people have come to accept that disability is like just any disease and needs cure and support from all.
    Corporate too have taken up the social responsibility , evident in their policies to hire challenged people and help them be productive to themselves and organizations. You would also find that all new corporate constructions now have elevators, slides and toilets to aid the handicapped (I would attribute this to globalizations and corporate, embracing global human capital policies)

    2. The attitude of the physically challenged too matters a lot(for their own well being). They should break free from self imposed bondage and grab opportunities that today’s society is creating for them(Look and the number of NGOs, corporate and other self help institutions that have mushroomed post globalization). Disability plays on the mind and it takes immense effort on part of the effected and society to open up. Society is now open, it is unto the effected to cast themselves into the mould they want to be in.

    Comment by Kaushik — August 5, 2007 @ 6:07 pm

  20. Kaushik: Thanks for sharing your thoughts and for reading. I believe strongly that inclusion will be a major contributor to sustaining the growth of the Indian economy in the decades to come, and any examples of thought-leading companies will, I hope, only serve to inspire and catalyse action in those not yet taking active steps in this regard. Thanks again.

    Comment by Shefaly — August 5, 2007 @ 6:56 pm

  21. very well said ..
    Awareness shapes attitude.

    Comment by Sachin Tiwari — August 6, 2007 @ 12:11 am

  22. As a person with Muscular Dystrophy (now physically challenged), I found the discussion interesting. One point I think is crucial, corporate sector cant employ people with disability because many times
    they lack the necessary skill set.I was employed with a MNC and latter with a few local companies, I had the skills (forex and finanical analysis) which were in demand, so disability was not a issue.

    Disabled persons do not get good basic education and skills training because of various issues like, rural/urban, gender, caste and class. These things are lost in the discussions.

    Thanks for a healthy conversation.

    Comment by Win Phatak — August 6, 2007 @ 8:19 am

  23. Sachin: Thank you!

    Win: Thank you for sharing your experience and for highlighting a point which I mention but which was admittedly not the core idea of the post. The preparation in early life preparation is of course the most essential of all, in order to enable inclusion in economically productive life later. However where do we break the lack of awareness-stigma-poor attitude vicious circle? I think considering the workplace plays an important role, we could start at the workplace where attitudes can be shaped in a ‘rules driven’ environment. Because I am sure there are more people like you in India – who may have physical disabilities but are cognitively gifted and add huge value. Why let it go to waste?

    Thanks again.

    Comment by Shefaly — August 6, 2007 @ 10:20 am

  24. I chanced upon this partcular blog after a long discussion with some European colleagues. One of the most distinctive nature/culture of India is the “joint family based social system”. Actually many people fail to notice it and defintely it does not figure in the economical figures. We have a system which takes care of all needy and helpless by tightly integrating into the family structure. I fully appreciate the concern of many that you do not see handicapped at work place. But by my experience in our family circles we have more than 3 to 4 % of handicap personnel (was surprising for me too..but then later I figured out that this was because of close marriages), no one is unattended. The family has the responsibility of taking care of all these physically and mentally challenged persons. And they have been doing their duty meticulously…sometimes out of sense of duty..sometimes out of affection..and sometimes out of fear of gossip.Well that wasmy explanation to my European coleagues we have a welfare state where the welfare responsibility is with the family and not with the govt. Not surprisingly we have average growth rates closer to the hugely socialistic societies like the French and German. Of course currently this system is falling apart and also the economic growth is crossing the Hindu growth rate.
    Maybe we don´t have to”ape” the western systems to establish ourselves as world leaders. Maybe we just need to fix that are not working..and not the things that are working.

    Comment by Kris — August 7, 2007 @ 5:01 am

  25. Shafaly,
    15-20% was from top of my head, as I heard my wife and her friends speak. the real number is possibly larger, and it is bound to be controversial given the Indian connotations (‘Paagal’ or mad person). my wife now works for the state mental health facility, and i have, over the time, learnt about some of the issues. i went through depression before, and believe many stressed individuals go through depression episodes. perhaps it is necessary and healthy. however, many times people go “off the rocks”, become delusional and psychotic due to long periods of stress, and due to lack of support from family. we have to attribute cases of addiction to psychological factors as well, there is evidence of it now.

    Kris,
    our older system took care of disabilities, but did not treat disabled people with dignity. it was a ‘curse’ or a burden due the earlier births, and given that those people have to be supported, they became a source of stress for others. for a long time women bore that burden. times have since changed, although many people do take care of old and the disabled. i know of an aunt who took care of her disabled mother in law. the other side is that, daughter of the same mother-in-law would not want to take care of her. i know a few other cases, where families have deserted their parents, or neglected disabled people at home. most of these abandoned people are women, they suffer the most under stress also. my wife has more touching stories of women suffering over years of psychological abuse and neglect due to disability.

    point is, we can no longer live under this romantic idea of our “close-knit family system” taking care of disabled people. we have adopted a modern living, so let us adopt a more direct approach to disability and the disabled.

    cheers,
    ashish

    Comment by Ashish — August 14, 2007 @ 10:57 am

  26. I am disabled and I am in the US. I do not get any special privileges. There are parking spots for the disabled but I very seldom park in them. Anyways, I think it’s immaterial what percent of India’s people are disabled. They should recognize that disabled people should have the same rights as able bodied people.

    Comment by Bobby Capps — January 22, 2008 @ 7:34 am

  27. Hi,

    We have kicked off a community driven project to study and drive accessibility in buildings in S.Chennai. We feel that by making spaces accessible to disabled, we will see more of them in public. We are trying to tie-in offline ‘social awareness’ campaigns with ‘online peer pressure’ through active wiki and blog postings.

    We hope this will raise the awareness level, create more rapid transformations in variety of building types and public spaces. Once the disabled feel more comfortable moving about freely , this would lead to their next key requirement- employment.

    The site address is : http://rampup.wetpaint.com
    Would invite your comments & feedback. We are also seeking out for volunteers – both abled and disabled can apply. Please refer to the section ‘call for volunteers’ .

    Thanks,

    Venkat
    INODA

    Comment by Venkat — February 27, 2008 @ 5:53 am

  28. [...] wrote a post on disability last year as a guest writer on the Indian Economy blog. Those, who may not have read it the first [...]

    Pingback by Second outing, sort of: Does ‘disabled’ have to mean ‘invisible’? « La Vie Quotidienne — March 26, 2008 @ 3:11 pm

  29. Hai I am a physically challenged person I am looking for innovative carrier based on electronics (Power generating sectors)but no one access me to work because i am disabled bad society but still I in confidence one day definitly i will reach my goal and i serve those suffered by disabilities. Only thing is pls dont lose hope hopeful is greatfull. Thank you.

    Comment by Kannan — April 12, 2008 @ 10:20 pm

  30. I did mechanical engineer and its become challenge to get job in this professional because they thought i can’t physically handle all the task. I agreed with the comments of Kannan but hope does not work with me so i did master in computer science and now how a good job…

    So don’t relay on hope but try to find a way

    Comment by Shazia Shamim — August 15, 2008 @ 5:27 pm

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