Manjula was born to normal parents, and was one of four siblings in her family, all of whom and hear and speak. Since none of her brothers and sisters were hearing impaired, they did not communicate with her in the standard sign language, but had their own sign language to communicate. This later on, was to cause a lot of difficulty, because future employers were only trained in standard sign language, which she had to learn from scratch in school.ReadMore...
Antony is around 6 feet tall, and meets me in his red Cafe Coffee Day uniform, his white badge proudly displaying his name. Antony has been working for a few months here, but getting here wasn’t easy. It took a lot of counseling and convincing from the Youth4Jobs team to get Antony to leave the comforts of his home and work at CCD.ReadMore...
Anjaneyulu is 25 years old and from Vikharabad. He was the only child of his parents, and when he went to school, he was teased because of the way he walked. Not just his classmates, but people in his village would comment on his gait, his prospects, and how unlucky his parents were to have a disabled child. He could sense how bad his parents felt about his disability too, their only son, who is usually expected to take care of his parents, being taken care of instead. ReadMore...
Manjula was born to normal parents, and was one of four siblings in her family, all of whom and hear and speak. Since none of her brothers and sisters were hearing impaired, they did not communicate with her in the standard sign language, but had their own sign language to communicate. This later on, was to cause a lot of difficulty, because future employers were only trained in standard sign language, which she had to learn from scratch in school.
Since her entire family were able to speak and hear normally, Manjula would visit her deaf and dumb cousin frequently, often staying at her house, because she had many friends from the same community. Sravini had a brother who was hearing-impaired and a normal sister. Her mother and Manjula’s father were siblings. The two cousins developed a close bond and did everything together, even though Sravani was two years older than Manjula.
After they finished school, both Manjual and Sravani stayed home for nearly 6 years. They earned a small income by tailoring clothes for their neighbours and family. Manjula stayed mostly at home, where she learnt how to cut and stitch. She mostly made clothes for her mother and herself. Sravani worked for a tailor in her village and earned a little more than her cousin. Both the girls were restless and bored in their surroundings, and hated being cooped up in the house all day.
It was Sravani’s brother who saw an advertisement by Youth4Jobs in the local newspaper, and told his parents to send Manjula and Sravani for the training. The girls were accompanied by their grandfather, who took them to the Youth4Jobs training center. The usually timid girls were glad to have each other for company at Youth4Jobs, and made friends with the 20 member batch at the center.
At Youth4Jobs, they learnt English, Grooming, computer skills, the retail environment. They were also given other life skills that the girls considered most useful after the training - Time management, money management, the importance of saving etc.
Both the cousins joined Max Lifestyle in InOrbit mall after training in July 2013. Their Job consisted of folding up the clothes, arranging them according to color, size and design. They also had to take fresh stock and arrange the clothes. Initially, they struggled because they didn’t understand what they were supposed to do, and the speed and execution of the other employees at Max was much higher than their own. The employers were trained to understand basic sign language, and struggled to communicate with them. That has changed now, as more hearing impaired people joined the company. Max now has hearing impaired employees, and employs them to conduct the orientation for the new hires.
At first, they were not used to to the professional rigor of working in a retail environment. Time management was of ultimate importance to the management, and slowness or being late was not permitted. The lessons they learnt at Youth4Jobs were all being tried and tested in the company. But both the girls persevered, and after working for a few months their salaries were raised to Rs. 8300. They are now sending money home, and the self sufficiency has added several points to their confidence.
Sravani is getting married to a hearing impaired person who is already earning a good salary of 20,000. She is confident that together, they can raise a family and live a full life without having to depend on anyone else for help. Manjula wants to focus on her career for now, and is thankful to Youth4Jobs for helping her leave the nest and find her wings.
Antony is around 6 feet tall, and meets me in his red Cafe Coffee Day uniform, his white badge proudly displaying his name. Antony has been working for a few months here, but getting here wasn’t easy. It took a lot of counseling and convincing from the Youth4Jobs team to get Antony to leave the comforts of his home and work at CCD.
Both Antony’s parents died when he was young. His father had a heart attack at 49, while his mother died of kidney failure due to diabetes a few years later. They were survived by an elder daughter and Antony. Antony’s sister was married before their mother died, and afterwards, he went to live with his brother-in-law and sister. His brother in law was very supportive, and acted like a father to him after his real father’s death. He arranged for Antony’s education in a deaf school in Hyderabad, where Antony completed his B.com. After completing his degree, he spent a year helping his brother-in-law to construct a new house which they later moved into.
Antony joined Youth4Jobs a year later, where he learnt several life skills, understood the retail environment, honed his communication skills, and understood basic grooming practices. In the retail modules, he felt that he benefited most from the cashiering module, where he learnt about credit, debit, receipts, and how to swipe cards, amongst other things.
The organization struggled to get him a placement because he didn’t have proper documents. All he had was a voter ID card. He had no ration card, or any other identity that could be entered into the system. Luckily, the collector in his district gave an official letter vouching for him, thanks to which he was then eligible for placements.
Antony got placed in Cafe Coffee Day, and he was very unhappy about it. It is a general misconception amongst the disabled that a job in a restaurant or food outlet would mean menial tasks like washing dishes, cleaning the washrooms, sweeping floors, cutting vegetables etc. Antony did not want to work at CCD, thinking that the job would entail the tasks that are generally handed out at hotels, and returned home to his sister and brother-in-law without a job.
The Youth4Jobs team and his family joined hands and counseled him against his rash decision. They told him that his impression about the job role is mistaken, and walked him through his job role, which included making and serving food and coffee, and billing. His brother-in-law asked him to give the company a chance, and leave in three months if he felt that the job was unsatisfactory. Finally, after a lot of hesitation, Antony agreed to rejoin the induction program at CCD.
It’s been only a month since he joined the company, but his face is all smiles as he indicates that the job was very different from what he had first assumed. Being the only disabled person in the outlet, he has already made friends with all his teammates and enjoys his time at work.
He is glad he finally listened to his family and team, because it means that he can now pay his brother-in-law back for all the years that he was taken care of, and can live a life of dignity and employment. He is yet to receive his first salary, which he plans to give in total to his brother-in-law in gratitude. He is grateful to the organization for pushing him and convincing him to earn his own money, and be independant.
Anjaneyulu is 25 years old and from Vikharabad. He was the only child of his parents, and when he went to school, he was teased because of the way he walked. Not just his classmates, but people in his village would comment on his gait, his prospects, and how unlucky his parents were to have a disabled child. He could sense how bad his parents felt about his disability too, their only son, who is usually expected to take care of his parents, being taken care of instead.
His friend, who was attended the training that Youth4Jobs provided, told him about the organization and encouraged him to apply and so that he could earn his own salary instead of being dependant on his parents. Anjaneyulu called up the organization and was asked to join the next batch by Vijay, an instructor at Youth4Jobs. Anjaneyulu had never been to a big city like Hyderabad in his life, and was worried about what to expect. He had heard that the buses didn’t wait for the disabled, and had no idea where to go. He was received by Vijay, who offered to pick him up, at the Care Hospital.
The batch he joined had around 40 members, and after a while he made good friends with the people in his batch. Living in Ameerpet, he learnt how to take the bus to the training center, and soon grew more confident about taking public transport and finding his bearings in a big city like Hyderabad. He first got a job at McDonalds, but was unable to handle the smell of the oil and because of an eye problem, left the company after a few months.
Anjaneyulu applied for an interview at Hypercity when he heard that they were open to employing people with disability to work in their stores. He got selected, and has worked there for the last two years.
He recounts the change in people’s attitude ever since he became financially stable. “My mother would boast to all her neighbors, saying that her son is sending her more money than what they were earning combined”, he smiles. The same people who used to make fun of him in the village would come to him to discuss finances, and he finally got the respect he had longed for. He is now married to a non disabled person he met at Hydercity who used to work in the packing department. He says that the both of them are very happy, he is confident that he can provide for her as well as the family he plans to have in the near future.
I asked Anjaneyulu what the most helpful thing about the training in Youth4Jobs had been. His reply: “I learnt the importance of grooming. How to speak properly, learning to speak to others with respect. I learnt how to Live well, speak well, and earn well. The most important thing that they gave me was, what is the english word for it ma’am? Confidence. They gave me confidence”, he said with a smile.