An Initiative undertaken by Indian Association for the Blind and Amway Opportunity Foundation to generate employment opportunities for the Visually Challenged
INDIACSR News Network
NEW DELHI: “With over 285 million visually challenged people worldwide including 39 million completely bereft of vision and the other 246 million with low vision, this is a very large constituency to attend to and support, and more so because nearly 90% of the world’s visually impaired live in the developing countries. Of these figures, India accounts for over 20 percent of the total blind population across the globe and only 5% of them receive any education.”
Being visually challenged is more a hindrance; the differently abled have overcome their disability and have proved themselves in various fields – be it skilled or unskilled. Various NGO’s and corporates have been working towards helping these visually impaired achieve economic independence. Amway Opportunity Foundation, CSR arm of Amway India Enterprises, is one such organization committed to provide a “better life” to the deprived and weaker sections of the society. In sync with this vision, Amway Opportunity Foundation (AOF) partnered with Indian Association of the Blind (IAB) in their project to set up a Business Process Outsourcing unit exclusively for the visually challenged in Madurai.
The BPO located at the IAB campus in Madurai was inaugurated by Honorable Judge Mr. D.Stanley David and Mr. Sujoy Bose, Associate Vice President (South), Amway India & Amway Opportunity Foundation. The occasion was also graced by Dr.C.Ramasubramaniam, President, IAB, Mr. S.M.A.Jinnah, Founder & Secretary General, IAB and Mr. Siva Kumar, Area Manager – TN, Amway India & Amway Opportunity Foundation.
Initially in the year 2011, IAB piloted this project with 15 seaters and acquisition of one business process from the telecom company. In last couple of years , the visually impaired work force of the IAB BPO have once again proved their ability and the BPO is now all set to service the corporates without compromising on quality, processes and technology. The all new BPO wing is funded by Amway Opportunity Foundation and aims at providing employment to 60nos and in the coming year aims at an expansion to 200 seaters.
In Tamil Nadu, there are as many as 7 Lakh visually challenged people across all age groups. Out of this, approx. 8000 people are employed across sectors i.e. 2500 in Govt. sector, 500 in private sector and over 5000 engaged in self- employment. Besides jobs from the Govt. and the Public sector such as teaching, banking etc, they are involved in various fields ranging from traditional jobs such Weaving, Tailoring, Chair-canning, Candle Making, Type Writing etc to the modern day work such as Medical Transcription, BPO/ call center, basic engineering works, Binding and Packing etc.
Talking about AOF , Mr. Sujoy Bose, said, “We, at Amway, believe that partnership between business and the voluntary sector is a must to achieve inclusive and sustainable / equitable development. AOF has led by that example and continues to follow this path of joint partnership development. So far we have partnered with 64 NGOs and have set up 16 computers center for the blind benefiting 9000 under-privileged kids and 3000 visually challenged. ”
Further on the BPO project, Mr. Bose, added, “We are glad to partner with IAB for such a noble project generating employment for the visually challenged. In line with AOF’s vision to support visually challenged with education, AOF had earlier set up computer center and an audio visual library at IAB. Now with the BPO, we reiterate our commitment to this cause. We wish Mr. Jinnah and team succeed in their new endeavor to provide economic independence to these differently abled kids.”
Talking of the project, Mr. Jinnah, said, “IAB aims at helping the visually challenged identify their ability and support them to achieve success in their endeavor to become economically independent. Though there is 1 % reservation for all Government job opening and specifically 2 % in Teaching, the implementation of this act has been slow which has left many youths without job yet. The education and skills required to undertake a job is being imparted at IAB, but the need of the hour is to generate employment for these visually challenged. This IAB- AOF BPO project is a step taken towards the goal to generate employment and in next 5-6years we aim to create opportunities for as many as 1000 visually challenged. I am glad that the project has received immense support from private players by way of giving business and funds. ”
Located in Sundararajanpatty in Madurai, Indian Association for the Blind provides opportunities for education, vocational training and self-employment for the visually handicapped from weaker sections of the society (Children below Poverty Line), especially from rural areas to become “SELF RELIANT”. Currently, it caters to 360 students every year with many state wide projects benefiting the blind community throughout Tamilnadu. A visually challenged child can enter IAB at the age of 5 and can leave at the age of 23 / 25 after completing total educations in his/her field of choice.
Amway Opportunity Foundation (AOF) a registered non-profit organization looks after Amway India’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), and has been actively associated with several projects dedicated towards child welfare across the country. One of the biggest challenges in education of visually impaired children is to make books available in Braille, text or audio described format so that students can read themselves. Under the National Project for the Blind, AOF with its partners AICB and NAB has ensured making available Braille textbooks to over 85,000 school-going visually challenged children in 15 states. In addition, the foundation has instituted 16 computer centers across India with its NGO partners to provide quality computer education to less privileged visually challenged students.
AOF runs its Global project Project Sunrise – an initiative which envisages partnership with needy children’s home / orphanages to support their educational, health & medical requirements. AOF has partnered with 45 such orphanages across the country.