NABET India: Light The Spark

Arjun Mishra, DO School fellow and social entrepreneur, co-founded NABET Indiaan organization working towards the empowerment and employment of people with disabilities in India. Arjun also organized the Light The Spark conference, which gathered together key figures from educational, governmental and corporate backgrounds to figure out how best to provide equal employment opportunities to disabled people.

The need to find sustainable livelihood for persons with disabilities cannot be over emphasized. India is home to over 28 million disabled people – most of them are jobless too. Additionally, a large number of people lack the skills and/or education to make them employable. Moreover, a lack of awareness of their skills or employment avenues both between employers and beneficiaries further complicates matters. To add to this, economic dependence makes these people vulnerable to exploitation and social crimes. This situation therefore calls for urgent attention.

During my fellowship at The DO School in June 2018, I tried to understand how the government and NGOs in Germany address this issue. My experience working with fellows from across the globe gave me an insight into people’s various mindsets and the way they view disability. Needless to say, the mindset here in India is slightly different and requires a more nuanced approach. The major issue is that most of our social organizations in the corporate, government and civil sectors do not work in unison.

I have worked in the disability sector for over 8 years and co-founded NABET India to address this exact issue. I considered it imperative to bring government officials, business heads, industry heads, heads of educational institutions, legal luminaries and a large number of eminent personalities together on one platform to create a workable solution to this serious problem that confronts our entire nation.

With this in mind, we gathered together key figures across various sectors namely senior government officials, industry leaders, corporate heads, heads of educational institutions, financial institutions and other luminaries at the Light The Spark conference in Gurgaon, India, in November, 2019. During a day-long conference, we heard various perspectives on how best to provide equal employment opportunities to disabled people.

Below are some key points that emerged from the three main perspectives:

NABET INDIA

  • Training should be job specific with a focus on on the job training in IT, TES (Teaching & Education Jobs), handicraft and marketing.
  • Partnerships between NGOs and corporates should focus on well researched and job specific training to facilitate large scale employment.
  • By including the specially abled in the mainstream workforce, the dependance of NGOs on government grants can be reduced and therefore boost the country’s GDP.

GOVERNMENT

  • Organizations like NABET should work with the industry and suggest policies for the government to formulate.
  • Government jobs are scarce, hence the NABET INDIA model of outsourced work should be the focus area.
  • Government welfare budgets are limited and should be spent on skill development and livelihood schemes.
  • GeMs (Govt e-Market) Portal should be utilized fully for job creation.

CORPORATE

  • NABET INDIA’s training and employment program serves corporates well – they are viewed as quality Human Resources.
  • For corporates, this model of inclusion it is pure business not CSR as specially abled workers are considered competent employees that add value to their organization.

The conference ended with a firm resolve to work together in the mission to empower persons with disabilities and adopt NABET’s model. The NABET social development model is replicable and scalable and fit for consideration of other corporations and governments.

ARJUN MISHRA

ARJUN MISHRA

Co-Founder – NABET India

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