Ravi from Mandya of Karnataka on Apprenticeship
“I would like to start my own sugarcane factory and provide jobs to others like me. I am sure I will be able to do it” says Ravi.
From Paralysed and immobile to employed and earning Ravi’s Inclusion-100 journey
Twenty eight year old Ravi grew up in an agricultural family background with his parents working on daily wages as labourers to support him and younger sister for education. He completed the 10the standard in government school. Unfortunately, an accident of falling from a coconut tree at the age of 18 years caused a severe spinal cord injury.
For four years, he remained completely bedridden, in need for constant care. The injury also caused loss of bladder and bowel control and made him totally dependent on his parents. The only time he would get out of bed was when he was taken to nearby hospitals for regular check up and changing the catheter. Five years of intensive physiotherapy on advice of the doctors ensued and in 2015, for the first time in years, he was able to stand with some support. Around this time, he also suffered from an infection due to the catheter and was treated at NIMHANS, a world-renowned hospital in Bengaluru city. The physiotherapy continued and specialised care at the Association for Persons with Disability (APD) and Ravi was able to walk initially with calipers and then with assistive crutches.
“Even the doctors could not believe Ravi’s progress, they did not think he could walk. The doctors said he has made so much progress only because of his will power and continuous exercise”, said Ravi’s father. In 2018, life took on a semblance of normalcy and Ravi was married; he now has two young children.
With his own family to support, he wanted to work, earn, and become a contributing member of his family. And it was during this time, that a field staff from Leonard Cheshire Nagapattinam (LCNP) approached him with a potentially life changing opportunity. And enrolled in Inclusion 100.
Inclusion 100 is an initiative by Leonard Cheshire supported by FCDO (Foreign Commonwealth & Development Office, UK Government) in collaboration with National Skills Development Corporation (NSDC), India and LCPNP is an implementation partner. The program identifies persons with disabilities in the community and train them to take on apprenticeships under National Apprenticeship Promotion Scheme (NAPS) with the employers. Apprenticeship programs provide the right combination of basic and on-the-job training for anyone, especially for a first-time employee, to truly understand a work environment and also develop the skills needed to carry on regular employment.
Utilising the COVID 19 lockdown positively, Ravi received the Ready2Suceed training, for employability skills development over Android mobile online borrowed from his friend for 10 days through volunteers from an IT Services company. The training included communication skills, basic digital literacy and soft skills that are useful for one to adapt to a work environment.
Since Mandya district is known for sugarcane business, the LCNP team reached out to the owner of a small sugarcane factory nearby his locality for reduced travel and support Ravi. In October 2020, Ravi began his training at the factory. His job entails operation of the sugarcane crusher machine and also to carry out small repairs if there is glitch in the machine. After successfully completing his training, Ravi is now a regular employee and for the first time in his life, received a starting salary of Rs.6000. “The factory owner is so happy with Ravi’s work. His co-workers treat him as one of their own. A positive feedback about his concentration and dedication to the job encourages the employer to employ more persons with disabilities for training and employment. The employer has also registered on the NAPS portal for the Government scheme for offering such training opportunities. It all happened after the constant workplace support and follow up activities by LCPNP.
Ravi says “Since this is my first salary, I wanted to gift my family something. So, I bought clothes for my wife and children and also my parents.” Ravi’s parents did not believe that there would be a time when he would be able to work and support them and are thankful to Leonard Cheshire for the opportunity. After just two months of employment, Ravi’s ambitions have grown. “I have a small piece of Land; it is not much. But I would like to start my own sugarcane factory and provide jobs to others like me. I am sure I will be able to do it”, he says resolutely.