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Bid to generate jobs for visually impaired

By Our Staff Reporter

NEW DELHI SEPT. 14. To help generate employment for the visually-impaired in call centres functioning across the country, ActionAid, a development organisation working to empower persons with disability, has mooted the idea of training a group of highly talented people in voice and accent as well as in data entry through computer software.

"Working in tandem with a group of non-government organisations, we plan to generate employment for the visually impaired in call centres," says Jerry Almeida, Chief Executive of ActionAid, adding: "Jobs which are routine, repetitive and time-consuming not demanding variation in the task are well-learnt and better performed by people with visual impairment."

Experience suggests that specific tasks in printing and binding in publication units and routine assembly of mechanical instruments are well performed by the visually impaired. The call centres serve as a business process outsourcing for many companies and much of the work takes place through the telephone. "With proper training, some of these tasks could be handled by the visually impaired," says Mr. Almeida.

ActionAid has held initial round of meetings with George Abraham, Chairman of the International Cricket for the Blind, who will spearhead this entire exercise. "It is possible to train a group of visually impaired people in handling specific tasks in call centres. But proper orientation and training is necessary if they have to be successful in this endeavour," he says.

While a quick phone-in survey of the call centres in terms of providing gainful employment to the visually impaired has revealed that they are open to the idea, ActionAid feels that opening the doors of the call centres to the visually impaired can help them tackle the high rate of attrition.

"The ratio of people leaving the jobs in these centres are very high and the call centres can trying out various innovative methods to meet the challenge like providing them options for pursuing higher education, shared dwelling facilities, health check up and medical insurance and providing flexi-working hours," says Mr. Almeida. "By giving employment to the visually impaired, call centres can tackle the high rate of attrition as these people will be more loyal and committed to their jobs and will not switch in a short span of time. Besides, this will also help them get recognition as a socially responsible corporate."

Initially, ActionAid plans to facilitate the formation of a group of visually impaired persons who have basic knowledge of the English language and can speak the same.

This group will then be trained for voice and accent of English besides data entry through computer software. Simultaneously, the call centres will be sensitised to the need, urgency and possibility of providing employment to persons with visual impairment. "It is time we undertook a genuine effort for the inclusion of the visually challenged people and bring them into the mainstream," says Mr. Abraham.

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