The Story of Nusrat Parvin: Jewellery and Handcraft producer, and a contributing member to her proud family

Nusrat Parvin, a woman in her early twenties, was considered a total burden on her family. A woman who is neither good looking nor has a sound mind is rejected not only by the society but also by each of her family members. Under such conditions, Nusrat never realized that she, too, had potential.

During a health fair at Rupnarayanpur, Nusrat approached a stall that was staffed by Jhankar, an NGO that sells jewellery and other crafts designed and produced by people with intellectual disabilities. Thereafter, every day Nusrat would walk 30 minutes and then ride a bus for another 20 minutes to experience an encouraging environment in which she picked up the craft of jewellery making, embroidery, and other skills.

“My father burst into tears when I handed him my first earnings,” Nusrat recalled. “He embraced me and called all the other family members to announce that he was proud of me. That was the best moment of my life. I transformed into a contributing member of my family. I am not an outcast any more. Now I also have the right to take part in family decisions, and now I am able to challenge my mental illness and live my life with dignity.”

Learn more about how Jhankar is turning people with disabilities into Entrepreneurs in India.

The Story of Carlos Franco Garcete: Training and assistance with job interviews

“I would like to have my own food business one day”

I am a 31-year-old man with a visual disability. Some while ago I participated in the pre-work training course offered by the Secretaria Nacional por los Derechos Humanos de las Personas con Discapacidad, which was taught by Foundation Saraki trainers, and thanks to this course I was able to learn various tools that helped me to perform better in job interviews and to overcome my shyness.

I didn’t have a job before, but I dared to take the course, which benefitted me greatly as only by making an effort can one reach their dreams. Now I am working at La Agencia Na- cional de Evaluación y Acreditación de la Educación Superior as an administrative assistant, where I staff the phone and computer, deliver documents to various offices, as well as perform other tasks. My relationship with my co-workers is really good. They always help me out and accompany me so I can do my best. I feel very comfortable with them.

When I am not at work I like fixing things at home, and I love cooking! I am also thinking about enrolling in the university, and am currently considering three majors – sport sciences, gastronomy, and criminology – but I think I like gastronomy most. I’d like to one day have my own food business.

Read more about Foundation Saraki’s vocational training and job matching services.

The Story of Chinnu Maria Babu: Associate Corporate Counsel with profound hearing loss

“I was awarded Best Lawyer Award in 2013”.

Maria was diagnosed with profound hearing loss at the age of two. For three years Maria studied at the Bala Vidyalaya School for Deaf Children, in Chennai, where she learned to speak and hear with the help of lip reading and hearing aids. Subsequently, she studied in mainstream schools. After completing her B.A. and LL.B. (with honours) from the National Law School of India University, Bangalore, in 2011, she joined the litigation and compliance team at Wipro Ltd., and currently, at just 29, is an Associate Corporate Counsel.

Maria works primarily in areas of immigration, data protection, and information technology. This involves advising various internal business teams and support functions on compliance with applicable laws and obligations thereunder, as well as engaging in corporate advocacy. Further, in September 2015 she represented Wipro at an international law conference at Oxford, England, hosted by DLA Piper – one of the top law firms in the world.

“I have always found the people at Wipro to be incredibly supportive and well-informed about the needs of differently abled persons. It is due to this inclusivity and promotion on merit that I was awarded the Best Lawyer Award (in the under five years’ experience category) at the Annual Legal Meet in 2013. The incredible opportunities given to me by Wipro testify to the e cacy of its efforts at promoting career growth and all round development for differently abled people.”

Read more about Wipro’s Disability Inclusion Policy Framework.

Eradicating Poverty and Promoting Prosperity for Persons with Disabilities – Support the IDA submission

Organsations should not miss their opportunity to endorse the official submission paper prepared on behalf of the Stakeholder Group of Persons with Disabilities to the United Nations High-Level Political Forum.

The submission paper addresses the annual theme of the High-Level Political Forum through the Sustainable Development Goals that are under review for this year. The paper focuses on eradicating poverty and promoting prosperity for persons with disabilities, and addresses the situation and challenges encountered by persons with disabilities globally. It provides recommendations in line with the CRPD.

Don’t miss the 27th April 2017 deadline!

The Story of Carlyle Gabbidon, Hearing-impaired Café Manager

“We are proving that the deaf can do anything!”

My name is Carlyle Gabbidon. I am 28 and the head barista at Deaf Can! Coffee. For the last year and a half, I’ve been responsible for managing the coffee shop at the School for the Deaf, where we started roasting coffee and brewing drinks. Now I am training the students in making food and baking, too.

I’ve always wanted to work and use my talents, but before Deaf Can! Coffee started, I would do a side job for someone, such as fix a laptop or a phone, and they would expect it for free. I’d say it costs 2,000 Jamaican dollars, but a lot of people think that because I’m deaf I can be taken advantage of, and they wouldn’t pay me for my work. When I was younger I went to a bakery because I wanted to learn how to make bread at a factory, but the boss said, “You’re deaf, you can’t, you’re too slow.” I said, “No, I can do this!” I felt like it wasn’t fair and I was discouraged.

Now we’re opening up a public coffee shop in partnership with another café where Fabian – my assistant manager – and I work alongside hearing people. We’re proving that deaf can do anything!

Read more about Deaf Can! Coffee.

The Story of Villy Villano: Taking advantage of the skills of people with disabilities

“I have now more than ten staff members reporting to me”.

Due to complications with measles as a child, I progressively lost my sight and was totally blind at the age of 18. Despite my disability, I managed to complete my degree in secondary education, but working as a high school teacher was challenging. I needed a fellow teacher to do a lot of things for me in class.

I set out to look for other jobs that I could perform independently, hoping that my achievements would impress a potential employer. My optimism and hopes quickly faded, however, after a series of rejections. What was worse was when people appeared to be courteous, saying that they would get back to me, but then never did.

Some might call it a stroke of luck, but I call it destiny that I came across Genashtim Innovative Learning. I was their first blind English coach conducting classes online. I was able to perform my tasks at par with my fellow non-disabled coaches using assistive technologies, and I got paid as much as they did. Further, after a year I was promoted to become the company’s very first Quality Assurance assessor. Being a blind person with a keen sense of hearing, I would listen to the recordings of other coaches’ sessions and make recommendations.

With the growth of Genashtim, I currently lead a team of QA assessors. I am also an account manager, which means I have the responsibility to deal directly with several key clients. Recently, I also took responsibility for our Content Team, where I supervise the creation of lesson materials for our learners. I now have more than ten staff reporting to me, including some who are not persons with disabilities. More than just a livelihood, working for Genashtim has given me a sense of pride and confidence.

Find out more about Genashtim’s virtual employment ecosystem.

The Story of Kayla Wilson: Embracing intellectual disability to study and work

“I have a college degree and a successful career in accounting”

My name is Kayla Wilson and I have a learning disability. I confess I have not always embraced my disability. During elementary and middle school I really struggled with learning to spell, with multiplication tables, and with being able to read in class. My classmates noticed that I did not understand things the way that they did and made fun of me. I did not know why I was different; it was very confusing and I had very low self-esteem.

In the seventh grade my parents had me tested and observed, and that’s when I was diagnosed with a specific learning ability that affects my reading and writing skills. As a result, I was given accommodations to assist me with test taking and I started doing much better in school. In high school the classes were harder and I still struggled. Fortunately, I had a strong support system with my parents, and I started participating in Georgia’s High School/High Tech (HSHT) programme.

In my junior year I participated in a HSHT Youth Leadership Forum, where I made many friends and found a great many other people who were experiencing the same struggles that I faced. The speakers at the forum were amazing. They embraced their disabilities, shared their difficult journeys to success, and were so inspiring. This forum was life changing for me! It was at this moment when I started believing in myself. I graduated high school and went on to college, where I had to advocate for my own accommodations for my classes and no one noticed or cared that I had a disability.

Now I have a college degree and a successful career in accounting. In fact, in 2013 the Governor of Georgia asked me to serve on the Georgia State Rehabilitation Council.

Read more about Georgia’s High School/High Tech Programme.

The Story of Marco Reschat, Education Specialist at Kiel University

“I teach Inclusive Education at universities.”

My name is Marco Reschat and I am 32 years old. I was born with
 a so-called open spine (spina bifida) and water on the brain (hydrocephalus), which has resulted in various health restrictions and learning difficulties. I am also confined to a wheelchair. However, I have also become quite purposeful and persevering, for I have often been marginalized and have learned that not many things in life are handed to you unless you fight for them.

My aim is to raise awareness for the needs and capacities of people with disabilities in order for them to be taken seriously and appreciated. There should be no more reservations about interacting with us, nor any doubts about our competences. We must remove the barriers that exist in the mind. This is why I have completed a three-year qualification process to become an education specialist. Previously, I worked for 14 years in a workshop for people with disabilities. Now I teach at colleges and universities to communicate first-hand experiences of the lives of people with disabilities to students, teachers, and managers.

As an education specialist and as part of an academic community,
I make a valuable contribution towards Inclusive Education. Therefore, the Institute for Inclusive Education, which is an affiliate of Kiel University, has offered me permanent employment, and I can now live on my own salary.

Find out more about the Drachansee’s Inclusive Education Project.

Wayfindr to be Unveiled as the New International Standard for Indoor Audio Navigation

Wayfindr, a 2016 Zero Project Innovative Practice, which empowers people with visual impairments to navigate the world, has been adopted globally by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU). This pioneering technology will be unveiled as the first Open Standard for indoor audio navigation at the M-Enabling Summit in Washington DC.

The conference will take place between 13th and 14th June 2017 and will feature an example of implementation provided by RightHear.

OpenIDEO Disability and Inclusion Challenge is open!

OpenIDEO, in partnership with the UK Department for International Development is working to increase understanding of disability and inclusion around the world and have launched the Disability and Inclusion Challenge. They are seeking ideas that will help reduce stigma and increase opportunities for people with disabilities.

Winning ideas will receive an invitation to a four day human-centered design bootcamp, 18 months of design support, and a grant typically between $50,000 and $150,000. So if your organization has ideas which will be implemented in one or more of the 27 eligible countries, then make sure not to miss the 23rd April deadline!