Supporting businesses in creating accessible workplaces and infrastructure
- NOWPDP - Network of Organizations Working with People with Disabilities
- Country of Implementation
- Asia & Pacific
- South Asia
- Start Year
- First published
“NOWPDP and Abu Dawood Group has made special accessibility arrangements in the office and given me appropriate transport service.” Atif Jilany, beneficiary
One of the major barriers for persons with disabilities in Pakistan are restrictions to the built environment due to lack of accessibility. This excludes them from education and employment opportunities and restricts them from being self-sufficient, contributing members of society.
Solution, Innovation and Impact
Since 2012, NOWPDP has been working to transform public spaces and workplaces both in the public and private sector. After working on making public spaces accessible, NOWPDP went on to transform its own office into a Model Accessible Workplace. Using this first-hand experience, they then began to offer support services to make other workplaces accessible through a holistic approach, which includes creating accessibility of infrastructure and offering reasonable accommodations, as well as, working on employee attitudes and acceptance through sensitization and sustainable inclusion practices while employing persons with disabilities. In this way, some of the spaces NOWPDP has transformed include 30 branches of HBL, Pakistan’s largest bank, the headquarters of Engro – a multinational company producing fertilizers, food & more, and head offices and locations of Abu Dawood Group and Unilever – Pakistan. NOWPDP is focusing not only on infrastructure accessibility but also on attitudinal accessibility through advocacy and informational sessions. A major part of this effort is making people and organizations aware of the existing Accessibility code of Pakistan. In addition, the organization is providing relevant and basic sign language training to bank cashiers to be able to accommodate customers with disabilities. NOWPDP also offers the option of certification to organizations that complete disability inclusion projects, which they can opt for at the time for setting terms and conditions. This could then serve as a role model and an incentive for other organizations.
Funding, Outlook and Transferability
NOWPDP is replicating its practice already. Based on the self-experience of the first phase of the disability inclusion project, the organization creates customized accessibility solutions for other organizations. Locally, the practice has been proposed to several organizations, some of which have already began a disability inclusion project. NOWPDP’s work is funded through grants and crowd funding, and is supported by businesses and organizations that are committed to becoming accessible. For example, HBL funded 40 per cent of the total budget to make 30 of its bank branches across Pakistan accessible at a cost of approximately 28,000 Euro.
THE STORY OF ATIF JILANY, MBA, USER OF NOWPDP
“I am employed at Abu Dawood Group now.”
My name is Atif Jilany and I have a MBA in finance. I also have muscular dystrophy. I can still recall the days when my mother used to carry me in her arms all the way to my school. Falling from the overcrowded public buses has been a constant part of my life! I always aspired to work in a place where I would be treated like anyone else – a place where people would see my abilities before they saw my crutches. I have recently joined the Abu Dawood Group through a disability inclusion programme conducted by NOWPDP, and I believe I have found the very place that I have been seeking. NOWPDP, in collaboration with Abu Dawood Group, has made special accessibility arrangements in the office and provided me with the appropriate transport service. Sensitization sessions and other trainings conducted by NOWPDP have made sure that the other staff members are well aware of my needs. Through the project I have gotten the opportunity to work as an executive in human resources, where I facilitate the employees and ensure that the company’s code of conduct is maintained throughout the organization. I manage attendance, third-party recruitment, and various other tasks to facilitate the smooth operation of the HR Department, learning new skills and techniques through every task.