By Prashant Agarwal
As per the 2011 Census, 2.21% of the total 121 crore population in India was differently abled, that amounts to 2.68 crore people. Around 69% of differently abled people in the country reside in rural areas, whereas the rest live in urban areas. It is also noted that differently abled people in urban areas receive better education and live in better conditions than people in rural areas. While 67% of the total differently abled people are literate in urban areas, the rate is only 49% in rural areas.
When it comes to employment, 63.66% of differently abled people in India are unemployed as compared to 60.21% employment in the country, rural and urban areas combined. The primary reason behind this is the lack of infrastructure and facilities available at public places, buildings and transportation. Specially abled people in both urban and rural areas face this problem.
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While the situation in urban areas has somewhat improved, there is no hint of improvement when it comes to support for differently abled people in rural India.
Problems differently abled people face
There are multiple factors which make it difficult for these people to learn and grow in the Indian society. There are reasons such as lack of knowledge on educators’ part, as they don’t know how to teach and look after specially abled students, they don’t provide specialized care for these students.
Even when it comes to institutes specifically for differently abled students, they are most often situated in urban areas and this causes problems for students residing in rural areas. These issues cause differently abled students to drop out of school, especially in rural areas. Reforms by government also play an important part in education for the differently abled, they require trained professionals and appropriate facilities to help them complete their education.
Educators are not trained adequately on how to deal with and teach differently abled students. School and institute properties also don’t have the appropriate infrastructure, which most often force students to drop out.
The lack of facilities deprive differently abled people of not only proper education, but also from taking up jobs. Even if they are able to land jobs, the workplaces are more than often not accommodating. The required infrastructure, such as walking ramps, etc., are not available at most workplaces.
Moreover, employers and colleagues of differently abled people don’t take their needs into consideration, and often resist from communicating with them. The society often thinks that differently abled people are not capable of doing anything and hence put them down and discourage them from growing in their professional careers.
What measures can be taken?
To make life easier for differently abled people, there are multiple steps that can be taken, such as-
– Training educators to look after differently abled individuals, teachers should know how to teach these students at their pace and according to how they are comfortable
– Institutes and companies should provide and improve transportation for specially abled students and employees. If they can’t provide exclusive transportation, they can at the very least provide assistance to these students and employees
– Public and school buildings’ and offices’ infrastructure should be improved. Differently abled people should be able to have access to all places
– Communication and information about disability should be provided at schools and offices. This will help make differently abled people’s classmates and colleagues more aware about the situation and how to deal with it carefully when required. This will not only improve their knowledge, but also make them understand that having differently abled people around isn’t anything to be uncomfortable of
– The curriculum in institutes is also not feasible enough for differently abled students, it should be such that these students find it comfortable. The students should easily be able to comprehend the syllabus, it should be easy to understand and learn.
What courses/jobs can differently abled people do?
There are various courses and jobs differently abled people can take up. Depending on what they’re comfortable with, differently abled people can apply for a number of courses and jobs.
Some of these courses and jobs are-
· Accounting– Differently abled people can learn how to handle finances, do taxes and then help others with their accounts. They can also be hired by companies to handle the entire company’s account.
· Digital Marketing– One of the most popular and high paying jobs right now is Digital Marketing. It requires handling website stats, promotions. All this can be done in the comfort of one’s home. There are also multiple online courses for Digital Marketing, which teach people not only marketing on websites, but also social media.
· Graphic Design– People learn illustrations, web designing, printing techniques under this course. To get a job as a graphic designer, it is required to have a diploma or bachelor’s degree. The work is easy to do and requires a creative mind.
· App and web development– There are online courses, as well as special classes to teach app development and web development. People should have an interest in computers and technical details to apply for this course. A degree or a diploma is usually preferred to apply for a job, however, it also depends on the applicant’s interest and expertise in it.
· Photography or filmmaking– It has been noted that people with learning disabilities have proven to be great at working behind the camera as they are able to distinguish faces and objects better and visualise a better scenario and scene development then many others.
(The author of the article is the president of Narayan Seva Sansthan, a non-profit organization serving differently able and underprivileged individuals. Views expressed are personal.)