Arjun Mishra, DO School fellow and social entrepreneur, co-founded NABET India, an 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:
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.
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