I have previously worked on building assistive technology while creating Tootle (the first ride sharing platform in Nepal). The impact it created is one of the glorious moments in my career. I have always wished to do more in accessibility ever since. The technology was/is very frequently used by visually impaired people. In fact a lot of times they were the clients who took the most number of Tootle rides. It was an incredible feeling to see them discover their freedom to move.
I recently joined the Disability, Design and GDP session in SSA2019 because I am a big proponent of accessibility and diversity at work. It was my quest of finding more inspiration which was fairly accomplished.
Thank you Shape South Asia 2019 for the amazing session.
The session takeaways
Dinner with expressions
Dinner with expressions was an experiential session where we dined in silence using sign languages. It was hosted by Pizza Hut which had a commendable inclusive philosophy in how they execute. The experience was ecstatic I must say.
A lot of times we talk a lot, talk without saying anything much. Like Rumi says “The quieter you become the more you can hear”. In the wisdom of silence over the short dinner, I felt all of us bonded more than we would have over verbal conversations. While embracing silence, we could focus more on each other, looking into eyes, making expressions and helping one another.
The human heart has hidden treasures
Sahar Mansoor from Bangalore Hub shared that she had grown up in a household where her mom chose to employee people with a specific condition for home economics (a person with hearing impairment for a cook and a person with night blindness for a driver.)
Personally, I had never heard about supported employment creation starting right from home. And this felt so powerful and inspiring to me. Thank you Sahar’s Mom for the inspiration.
Few tips from the session on how we can be more inclusive in simple ways
Start noticing the magic of diversity at work.
Redefine metrics of success that aligns with supported employment creation.
Challenge and speak out when you see discrimination.
Women and children (with disabilities) are doubly vulnerable, watch out, try and protect them.
Question if there is enough diversity at work and act upon it.
Reckon that supported employment is not Charity.