Centre of Excellence for PwDs
In a world striving for inclusion, some people continue to remain on the fringes. Discrimination against the disabled is ingrained into our institutionalised culture. To be born with a disability often translates to living life as a second-class citizen. This attitude is tolerated, accepted and normalised in our society because there exists a lack of real understanding of disability. There is stigma attached to PwDs by both non-disabled and disabled people.
Majority of persons with disabilities can lead a better quality of life if they have equal opportunities and effective access to rehabilitation measures. There has been an increasing recognition of abilities of persons with disabilities and emphasis on mainstreaming them in the society based on their capabilities.
Centre of Excellence for PwDs (CoE) is one of SBI Foundation’s flagship programmes. It was conceptualised with a goal to be a centralised support centre for persons with disabilities. CoE, since its inception, believes that persons with disabilities are perfectly capable of making important contributions to the society. They have the requisite drive to succeed in employment, and the skills and talent necessary to deliver on the job.
Centre of Excellence primarily works on empowering PwDs through skill enhancement to make significant and measurable improvement that enables individuals to enjoy a more productive and satisfying life by optimising their cognitive, physical, social and vocational functioning.
Disability and its definition
As per the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act 2016, persons with disabilities in India must be protected from various forms of discrimination, ensured with their access to equal employment opportunities, and enhance their societal participation.
The recently enacted Act is in accordance with the principles codified in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and replaces the previous legislation – Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunity Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act of 1995.
The definition of a ‘disabled person’ has been broadened under the 2016 Act: it now covers persons with disabilities, persons with benchmark disabilities, and persons with disabilities having high support needs. This definition is inclusive and categorises.
21 types of disabilities as ‘specific disabilities’.
- Total Visual Impairment.
- Low Vision.
- Leprosy cured persons.
- Locomotor Disability.
- Intellectual Disability.
- Mental Illness.
- Cerebral Palsy.
- Specific Learning Disabilities.
- Hearing Impairment (Deaf and Hard of Hearing).
- Speech and Language disability.
- Muscular Dystrophy.
- Acid Attack Survivors.
- Parkinson’s disease.
- Multiple Sclerosis.
- Sickle Cell Anaemia.
- Autism Spectrum Disorder.
- Chronic Neurological Disorders.
- Multiple Disabilities including Deafblindness.
The COE’s vision & mission are:
Vision : Working towards a more inclusive India: removing barriers to employment and employability for PwDs
Mission : Bridging distance and differences and being inclusive.
Project SAMEIP: Project SAMEIP will enable career pathways for 500 underserved youth with disabilities in the digitally transformed BFSI sector in India by setting up five centres in five cities viz. Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad in India. SAMEIP is being directly implemented and monitored by the American India Foundation Trust (AIFT). A highly innovative project enabling career pathways for under-served young people with disabilities in the digitally transformed BFSI sector in India.
SBI Shravan Shakti: SBI Foundation has provided financial assistance for cochlear implant surgeries of underprivileged children born with a speech and hearing impairment under the ADIP Scheme of Government of India. This cochlear implant project has been implemented by Ali Yavar Jung Institute of Speech and Hearing Disabilities (AYJNISHD). So far, SBI Foundation has supported the implant surgeries of 67 children identified in the wait list for cochlear implant. The post-surgery rehabilitation and therapy is conducted immediately after the surgery every quarter. The parents of these children also receive training and based on the training, the parents’ need to continue speech therapy is decided. The therapist submits the data and report to AYJNISHD every quarter on each child’s progress in speech and hearing. Besides speech therapy, mapping of hearing implant is done through electrical threshold for three years continuously. This surgery eventually enables the children born with a speech and hearing impairment to listen and speak.
SBI Parivarthan: Through Parivarthan, SBI Foundation in partnership with Youth4Jobs hopes to make inclusive employment of PwDs a norm. It has become pertinent with time that PwDs who are hired to be seen for their assets, rather than as token employees with a disability. Through this initiative, we aim to help PwDs develop vital communication, provide them the best chance of becoming economically active and in-turn empower them to maximise employment, achieve economic self-sufficiency and independence, and to realise full inclusion and integration into society.
The enrolled youth with disability undergo a market linked training program in classroom and industrial visit for 60 days, which includes learning English and a basic knowledge computers, developing one's personality and self-confidence, learning how to tally, and many more market-oriented courses based on the market value. After successful completion of the training program, based on the skill set of the candidates and market needs, these individuals get placed in companies in the organised sector. If the skills of the youth with disability can be developed and matched with specific job requirements they can be a boon to their respective organisations. So far, we have established two skilling centres in Bangalore and Trichy and will establish a new skilling centre in Delhi this March.