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ACPET stakeholders help deal with disadvantage

Monday, January 16 2017

Two Indian youths with disabilities have directly benefited from over $1000 raised by attendees at ACPET’s August 2016 Asia Pacific International Education Forum (APIEF) and National Conference in Hobart.

Sravanthi, who has speech and hearing disabilities and Naresh, who is visually impaired, proudly tell their stories below of how Youth4Jobs helped them develop new skills that lead to meaningful jobs.  

Keynote speaker at APIEF 2016 and founder of Youth4jobs, Meera Shenoy offered her latest book You Can be Smarter and Wiser to conference attendees for whatever donation they could afford. The money raised funded Sravanthi and Naresh’s training.

“It is thanks to you and your generosity that I can share with you the truly amazing results of the money raised” Meera says to those who contributed.

Youth4jobs is an Indian not-for-profit organisation that sets up placement-linked skilling centres for youth with disability. Most are from rural areas and all are from poor families.

Please save the date for this year’s APIEF forum, August 23 in Brisbane, to hear more stories of how a global approach to education makes both big and small differences to our world.

Disability proves no curse for Sravanthi

“Being born as a girl that also has speech and hearing disability made me more vulnerable.” laments Sravanthi. Despite her parent’s financial difficulties she was educated to 10th grade. After this, Sravanthi stayed at home to help with domestic work.

But her life was turned upside down when she lost both her parents in an accident. Sadly her brother and sister then sent her away, believing she was a curse and a drain on the family.

Sravanthi was lucky to find friends who helped her for some time, but even so there were days when she slept without any food.
She learnt of Youth4Job’s Placement-Linked Training Program and felt the world had opened up to her. New skills gave her hope of a better life and confidence that she also could work and live on her own.

“I cannot forget the learnings and life skills that I got during my two months training and the support received from my trainers and my peers.” says Sravanthi happily.

She was placed in a KFC store as a Customer Sales Associate. “I greet and wish my customers with a good smile. It is my strength. I realized now that having disability is not at all a curse. And I am not cursed. People who are looking at disability with negative mindset are cursed.”
She now wants to be a role model to all the girls in her village and surrounds who are facing similar challenges.

Naresh overcomes sight problems

Almost blind, life has been hard for Naresh. With very weak eyesight in his right eye only, he struggled to read at school.  

Naresh’s family are low income agricultural labourers who invested in his younger brother’s education in the hope he would support the family. They believed that Naresh couldn’t.

But Naresh studied hard, literally burying his head inside books to read the print. He graduated from school, obtained a degree and went on to a Masters in Sociology with the assistance of scholarships and scribes to write for him during exams.

After attempting unsuccessfully for two years to secure a government or bank job reserved for workers with a disability, Naresh learnt of Youth4Jobs thorough friends and enrolled. He learnt computer skills and after successfully completing this training is now employed on the Google campus as a steward.

He is very happy with his job and takes home almost double his whole family’s monthly income. After work, he continues to study for government job entrance exams.

Naresh encourages other young men and women with disabilities from villages to get educated.

“Education,” he says, “is the key to a better future”.


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