Cornelius, a musician from Meghalaya, comes from a middle-class family. With eight siblings and a family of simple dreams and ambitions, he never thought he could be working in a well-paying job at Rediff. Especially since his visual impairment has always been an obstacle in his education and career choices.
But he did it.
He became the first in his family to get an academic degree and a respectable job, all thanks to the training he received under EnAble India — an organisation empowering people with disabilities by helping them find employment and impacting their livelihoods.
But for many like Cornelius, connecting with and speaking to people who share the same challenges as them is the first step towards empowerment.
Take Harish, for example.
Harish is physically disabled below the waist and cannot stand or walk. He uses a wheelchair to go everywhere. And sometimes, his disability not only affects his access to various places but also restricts his mental capacity to think beyond his problems and impairment.
This was until he heard a shopkeeper speaking about EnAble India’s “Enable Vaani” initiative – an audio-based mobile social networking platform that uses voice connectivity to reach people with disabilities in remote rural areas. The platform is meant to support the needs of persons with disabilities and help them learn about job opportunities, engage with each other on mobility-related topics, and share experiences.
Harish heard how the shopkeeper, who is also paralysed from the waist down, replaced the plastic ropes in his shop with elastic ones. This was a solution to one of the issues he was facing at the shop. With the new arrangement, he now keeps a stick with a hook right next to him, so that when a customer asks for a packet hung on the elastic rope, he can just pull it closer and get the packets within his reach.
A simple innovation like this inspired Harish to believe that he could find solutions to his problems himself.
Enable Vaani has been a blessing for thousands of differently-abled people who can now listen to inspirational stories and share their accounts with just a click.
The platform has been developed by EnAble India in partnership with Accenture. Enable Vaani’s focus is on people in rural areas. The ideas being that nearly 70 per cent of people with disabilities in India live in rural areas, with limited access to information related to disabilities or livelihood and education opportunities. Because of the various restrictions they face in day-to-day life, they are not able to interact with others with similar restrictions and are hence unable to share experiences or get the information they need about different opportunities.
All a user has to do to use Enable Vaani is give a missed call on a designated number, and EnAble India will be at their service.
With Accenture’s support, EnAble India has been able to drive a systemic change in the disability sector. The short, personal stories, on the platform are inspiring hundreds of differently-abled people find inspiration and providing them with a will to share their own stories and finding sustainable livelihood opportunities.
Here’s more about this initiative and how it helped Mahantesh, a 29-year-old who could benefit from Enable Vaani like Harish and Cornelius:
To find out how New is doing Good, click here.
Featured image source: Enable India/Facebook