Selvaraj, an employee at Surfine Tools, Coimbatore
Today I am not only capable of supporting my family but I am able to spend money on myself!” says Selvaraj
48-year-old Selvaraj says, “My family consists of my father and two sisters. I have been desperately looking for a job for the past 10 years but have not been successful. I was dejected. I was not able to earn any money on my own. I felt that I had become a burden on my family. I have locomotor disability to the extent of 55%. Perhaps this is the reason why people do not want to employ me.”
Excitedly Selvaraj says, “At this time with no employment for so many years, I received an invitation letter from Cheshire Homes – Coimbatore to attend their identification camp. They were organizing a camp to identify all unemployed people with disabilities and to assess their abilities and skills. I attended their identification camp with little hope of finding a job.”
“To my utter surprise I received a call from a company called Surfine Tool Private Limited. Before attending their interview, the staff at Cheshire Homes, Coimbatore, encouraged me to take up their 2-day foundation training at their Livelihood Resource Centre (LRC). Once I completed the training, the LRC staff arranged for me and other disabled people to attend an interview with Surfine Tool Private Limited,” says Selvaraj.
“I was so happy when I was selected for a job for final inspection of their tools at Surfine Tool Private Limited factory. Did you know that I had registered myself with the employment exchange for a job for the past 24 years with no success! So you can imagine how happy I was to be employed now. Today I am not only capable of supporting my family but I am able to spend money on myself!” says Selvaraj beaming with confidence and pride.
LRC staff first identifies the people with disabilities at their identification camps. Then they assess their abilities. This is followed by counseling. Then the unemployed are trained and prepared to take up jobs in mainstream industries. The poorest among the disabled hardly stand a chance in getting employment just as in the case of Selvaraj. With the right kind of coaching and guidance the people with disabilities are now confidently sent for interviews where they have succeeded in capturing jobs in the market. The ‘Access to Livelihood’ project of Leonard Cheshire Disability, under which the LRCs function, have had a tremendous impact among the people with disability, in India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, the Philippines and in South Africa.