Sarthak’s 9th National Conference on Disability Draws a Roadmap to Make Disability Inclusion a Reality

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New Delhi: Sarthak Educational Trust and the National Abilympic Association of India hosted the 9th National Conference on Disability at the AICTE Campus, New Delhi recently. The two-day event brought together various disability evangelists together to bring knowledge and practical wisdom towards the disability inclusivity movement in the country. Themed around “Glocal Partnerships for Disability Inclusive Development’, Shri Rajeev Kumar, Chief Election Commissioner of India was the Chief Guest on the inaugural day of the two-day conference. The event was an important step in highlighting how global and local partnerships can impact the empowerment and mainstreaming of persons with disabilities (PwDs) in the country. Ranging from Early Intervention, Inclusive Education, Skill Building, Sustainable Employment, and Advocacy, Sarthak Educational Trust has played a critical and crucial role in empowering people with disabilities across India.

A massive online job fair for Divyanjans was also organised with top recruiters from the country like Flipkart, DHL, D’Mart, Indigo, Tata Croma, VMart, Sarathee, and many more from across the country. Around 17 companies hosted jobs and almost 300 PwD participants attended the fair.

Sarthak Educational Trust has been working since 2008 and in the last 14 years has successfully reached out to 1 million of the disabled populace in India and Trained & Placed – 51,000+ persons with disabilities PwDs across 16 states to let them excel in their fields and inspire many.

While speaking at the inaugural panel, Shri Rajiv Kumar, Chief Election Commissioner of India shared, “Currently there are 2.68 crore PwDs in the country, but I am sure this number is bigger than this and it’s our responsibility to stand by them and bring them to the mainstream economy. Elections have to be Inclusive and accessible and the Election commission is working towards this cause as such partnerships will give a voice to their disability rights. The dream of Sarthak to build GRC and the University will be supported as EC is eager to support the cause of Disability Inclusion.”

Highlighting the key factors that need to be taken up for the cause in the next fiscal, Dr. Jitender Aggarwal, Founder & CEO of Sarthak Educational Trust shared, “There is a need to publicise more about RPwD Act 2016 across India, as despite its implementation public awareness is still lacking. Sarthak is working extensively to reach PwDs even in the remotest area. In this direction, we have partnered with 500+ NGOs in various parts of India under the India Disability Empowerment Alliance (IDEA). There is also a need to explore possibilities of registering on the Social Stock Exchange being set up by SEBI soon. Sarthak is now preparing to send 14 nationally selected PwD candidates to participate in 13 Skills categories for International Abilympics Skill Competitions in March 2023 to Metz, France. Sarthak also hails BSE’s Social Stock Exchange which will also help Divyanjans”

Sarthak has successfully created digital solutions like CapSarathi and RozgarSarathi that are extremely useful & benefitting 36,000+ PwDs across India.  A lot of support was also poured in for The Sarthak Global Resource Centre (GRC) which is a good example of Glocal partnerships, as it will encourage – advocacy, skilling employment, and capacity building of other organisations like NGOs and should be supported by different organizations financially. The Global Resource Centre (GRC), at Gurgaon, is a First-of-its-kind accessible hub addressing all disability needs from Childhood to Livelihood for Persons with Disabilities.

“Sarthak is also conceptualizing a Global University for Persons with Disabilities which will provide a talent pool of trained and resume-ready manpower to serve the disability sector, which will be highly socially inclined and sensitized towards PwDs. It is also planning to start two courses with SGT University, Gurugram viz. One year PG Diploma in Disability Studies & Action (PGDDSA) and One year PG Diploma in Early Intervention (PGDEI),” added Dr. Aggarwal. He also urged the Divyangjans to gather a skill from the pool of opportunities and move towards the goal of a self-sufficient future.

While speaking on advocating the change to create a disability-inclusive India, Shri. Rajeev Sharma, IFoS, Joint Secretary, DEPwD, shared, “The GOI is working tirelessly towards creating a barrier-free environment. It’s a continuous process and the seed should be sown at the inception level. DEPwD is also exploring Skill Impact Bonds to attract foreign companies to invest in India for creating more and better resources for Disability Sector in India.”

The Early Intervention panel threw light on the fact that disabilities like Sickle Cell Anaemia are still lacking media attention and need to be highlighted more including other new disabilities included in the RPwD Act 2016.

The Corporate Panel brought together several HR and Diversity Inclusion Experts & Leaders to discuss measures needed to be ensured to involve the inclusion of PwDs, especially Digital Inclusion. “We brought more of a mindset change in operations by looking at PwDs as resources. We made several structural changes, mapping of job positions across 21 disabilities and we zeroed down on seven disabilities to make Amazon an inclusive workplace,” added Anuj Kaura, Director, Capability Builder, and Leadership Coach at Amazon India. “The target for this year is to hire around 5000 PwDs across all our platforms. From hiring 125 PwDs in a month we at Reliance have come a long way in becoming an inclusive workplace,” shared Amit Rawat, Zonal HR Head of Reliance Retail.