Sarthak Educational Trust Unfolds Roadmap for Disability Empowerment Post COVID-19

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New Delhi, July 6, 2020: This July, Sarthak Educational Trust completes 12 years of its efforts towards empowering persons with disability. The organisation has consistently voiced the concern that differently-abled are not disabled by their impairment but by the barriers in the community that prevent them from gaining equal access and opportunities.

Sarthak Educational Trust and National Abilympic Association of India flagged off ‘Dhristikone: Level up Strategy 2020 for Disability Empowerment’ to initiate a dialogue with national and international leaders to give an impetus on the required initiatives to empower the disability sector. The advocacy campaign focuses on combating the effects of COVID-19 on various segments of disability, namely healthcare, inclusive education, vocational skilling and employment. The panel of key speakers from NITI Aayog, NSDC and representative from GOI came together to address ‘12 Years of Journey of Inclusion & Empowerment’, which highlighted the journey of Sarthak Educational Trust and the developments in the disability sector in the verticals of healthcare, inclusive education, vocational skilling, sustainable employment, advocacy and Abilympics.

“People with disabilities can positively contribute to the national economy if they are provided with resources and adequate opportunities to build themselves. The virtual event saw the launch of Laptop Distribution Campaign for people with disability in rural India for taking full advantage of the e-learning platform, and we also appeal to people to join the campaign and donate old or new laptops for people with disability,” expressed Dr Jitender Aggarwal, Founder CEO, Sarthak Educational Trust, as he unfolded the roadmap for disability empowerment in the country across the East, West, South and North Zone of the country.

Dr Rajiv Kumar, Vice Chairman, Niti Aayog shared, “We are keen to support the social movement started by Sarthak which we all have to drive, with or without any legal bindings. NITI Aayog will support the drive to get laptops by reaching out to Corporates and other entities on behalf of Sarthak which will enable PwDs to learn new skills and overcome challenges. We also take into consideration the special requirements for PwDs in the Census 2021. An informative monthly e-Newsletter also is needed for more awareness.”

Dr Aggarwal further added, “Persons with Disability in India face many challenges in gaining meaningful employment. It is a mandate for government organisations to have three per cent of the total workforce reserved for people with disabilities, but NCPEDP survey says it is at 0.05 per cent of the total workforce, which is an all-time low.”

“During the lockdown phase, Sarthak has been conducting online counselling and therapy sessions for children requiring early intervention. It has also facilitated skill-building training of 1200 PwDs who are now waiting for jobs. Around 50 Corporates have openings in Customer Care Executive jobs and are in the process of placements.  A Mobile App is also being developed for PwDs to have easy access to information on schemes, jobs and seek real-time help when required. Additionally, Sarthak is in the process of building a global e-learning platform for PwDs. It is also collaborating with international organisations for empowering the disability sector globally,” he added.

Major announcements were made on the MOU between Sarthak & CII – India Business Disability Network (IBDN), a certificate training course on “Creating Diversity Champions & Leaders at the Workplace”, specially-designed for diversity and inclusion leaders of Corporate houses. The event also saw the launch of Sarthak G5 Group, a dedicated group for disability empowerment by involving in working closely with Corporate CSR, national and international employers, media, CSO, Persons with Disability and international agencies.

Through its ‘Early Intervention and Inclusive Education’ initiative, Sarthak has rehabilitated 1050+ and 425+ children with disability respectively. Sarthak Skill Development Centres have successfully trained 16000 PwD candidates in the sectors of Tourism & Hospitality, Organised Retail, and IT-ITes. Furthermore, 100+ job fairs have been organised in 21 States to provide employment opportunity to PwD candidates who are already skilled. Through job fairs and skill centres, 18000 PwDs have been provided employment. An appeal was also made to highlight Sarthak’s crowdfunding campaign on Impact Guru for raising funds to provide sustainable job opportunities to Persons with Disability who lost their jobs due to the pandemic.

This three-month-long series of virtual symposiums organised by Sarthak Educational Trust will give the much-needed impetus to the problems faced by PwDs during COVID-19. The campaign will highlight CSR support for strengthening the disability sector and a Global Perspective of COVID-19 on the Disabled Community, Era of Online Intervention Services for Children with Special Needs, and Roadmap to Strengthen Inclusive Education, and other topics like Dharma for Persons with Disability, Parental Role in Shaping the Future of a Person with Disability, and RDSM: Collaborative Action Towards an Empowered Nation.