Inclusivity at the workplace is very topical. Be it about gender, ethnic and religious minorities or people with disabilities – the public must be open and accepting of diversity.
One such effort to bring conversations about disabled people into the mainstream is the India Inclusion Summit. It helps increase awareness and drive action for workplaces, schools, colleges and policy-making bodies to be more open to such people.
The aim is to sensitise the Indian public on issues related to people with IDD (intellectual developmental disability) and physical disabilities through pop-culture, sports, books and media, and to do so it leverages the support of well-known personalities to further the cause of an inclusive society.
The group identifies roles which offices could employ to support people with disabilities. It shares innovations and success stories of such individuals. And while they educate the people on the discourse for inclusion, it also provides a platform for unsung heroes.
Every year, as a part of its merchandise, the group is distributing T-shirts that are very dear to them because people with autism have designed these pieces of clothing. Using block print techniques, young autistic adults have designed delicate designs against plain white t-shirts.
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Who helps the autistic adults do such work?
The Nav Prabhuthi Trust. Started in 2013 by Ms Jayshree Ramesh, a few parents of special children and a couple of Rotarians, the trust identified a gaping hole in the vocational training landscape for people with disabilities.
It started with the intent to provide vocational skills training to young adolescents with autism to make them into financially independent individuals.
Later, the trust realised that young adults need a space to learn such skills. The whole purpose of Nav Prabhuti is to make autistic adults productive and help them contribute to the society meaningfully.
Autistic kids and adults are good at following instructions, especially those they can see said Jayashree in a report to YourStory. It should have very clearly defined spaces and no-ambiguity. Nav Prabhuti teachers train them extensively, and over a period they become increasingly more independent.
The students are provided vocational training in hand block printing, data entry, stitching, and handmade jewellery among other skills taught.
The importance of personal hygiene, money and time management are also taught to them.
Individual training sessions are planned based on the skill of each beneficiary, says Usha, an employee of Nav Prabhuti.
Products such as hand block printed bags, sarees, bedsheets, stoles, t-shirts, greeting cards, hand I painted diyas made and sold too.
India Inclusion Summit has been an avenue to celebrate the uniqueness of every individual. Their tagline reaffirms their belief – everyone is good at something.
Also, when you buy the t-shirts, proceeds from the sale go towards supporting the Nav Prabhuti Trust as well.
Every individual’s identity is his/her quirks, abilities and disabilities. Inclusion is all about celebrating individuals for being themselves.