Thursday, 15 May 2014

Creating an 'abled' society on the web

“After my training at PANKH, I feel able, confident and self-reliant. I can now work, like any normal person, earn money and  take care of my family’s needs.”
-       Reshma Razak

PANKH – Wings of Destiny is an initiative that aims to train people with disabilities (PwD) and provide them employment opportunities in retail industry. The initiative thus aims to create sustainable livelihoods for PwD and also promote inclusive growth in retail sector.

In the world of job hunting, not having an equal opportunity can put you at the back of the pack. Imagine for people with disabilities; not even having an opportunity would mean that they are not being recognized and acknowledged as worthy enough. Millions of people with disabilities face barriers in finding jobs and getting promoted. And it’s surprising that it’s just not physical barriers but our attitudes towards them act as the biggest barrier.

At Pankh, it’s our endeavor to convert this disability into an ability factor. 1 in 7 people around the world are disabled bringing the total figure to 1 billion people, about15% of the world's population. Of this 785 million are of working age.  That’s right. There are so many people with ability that we all can factor in into our workplace.

The Indian retail industry is slated to grow from its current market size of 500 billion USD to over 1.3 trillion USD by 2020. Besides being one of the country’s largest employers, which employees around 33 million people, the retail industry offers specific benefits that make it accessible and attractive to People with Disabilities employees. Additionally, people with disabilities can create diversity which is good for the business because they not only improve workplace morale and elevate customer service but are untapped resources of skills and talent who only helps in enhancing various business opportunities. Keeping this in mind, we have initiated the Pankh program, where we are committed to create sustainable livelihoods for People with Disabilities and also promote inclusive growth in retail sector.

Pankh has already started its journey to transform the lives of disabled people in Mumbai (According to the latest census, there are around 17600 people with disability only in the city of Mumbai, out of which around 10,600 are of working age) by training 170 youth since the time of its inception.

Mumbai Pankh chapter was launched on 7th May 2013, at Malti Dayal Primary School, where regular classes are held under the expert training and supervision of our trainers Pradeep More and Taslim Shaikh. The first batch saw 34 students being trained and placed in Dominos and HyperCity. With the spread of word and the commendable dedication showcased by these young enthusiasts, more retail brands like Lifestyle, Reliance, Mad over Donuts, KFC, CCD, Star Bazaar and Timezone joined the bandwagon and hired our trained People with Disabilities students.

And to celebrate this one year journey and the undying spirit of commitment and service, Pankh launched a unique website, which will not only support the People with Disabilities’ but also the recruiters and organizations who would want to be a part of this noble initiative.

Click Here to view the website. 

Unique aspects of the site-
  • A responsive site that will work on any technology and platform. One will be able to alter the size of the fonts and page conveniently without altering the alignment of the site.
  • A visually impaired viewer would be able to access and maneuver through the site through audio assistance
  • Recruiters will directly be able to hire our students from the site after reviewing all their details
  • Support to the People with Disabilities students by detailing out the various types of disabilities and how they can transform this into an ability through the various training modules

Present on the occasion were more than 140 students from Pankh (alumni and present batch) and Mr Chetan Shah, Lions Club of Juhu, one of the initial partner’s of the initiative who had all gathered to celebrate their partnership with Pankh and be a part of this unique journey.

Pankh is planning to expand its wings in Pune, Nasik and Nagpur in the coming months. 

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