She was always worried about telling prospective employers about her physical disability. “I would call them, schedule an interview. But the fear of them seeing me in a wheelchair and rejecting me for my disability never let me attend the face-to-face round,” says Priyesha Krishan Sarang. Bound to a wheelchair since the age of 13, she never dreamt that attending the Rotary Rozgar Mela will transform her life forever. She is now employed at Eureka Forbes’ Euroable — India’s first state-of-the-art call centre manned and operated by differently-abled people — and has even drawn her first salary.
The Rotary clubs of D 3141 jointly organised a mega job fair during Sept 16–23, 2017 in Andheri, Matunga and Mulund, attracting people from all walks of life. Eureka Forbes, Blue Dart, LIC India, and 90 other companies participated in the job fair, offering pay-packages ranging from ₹1.4 to ₹3 lakh per annum. However, of the 3,000 candidates, only 1,000 cracked the interviews and were shortlisted by the companies. Appointment letters were handed over on the spot to 650 candidates with the LIC hiring 230 employees.
I would schedule an interview, but the fear of them seeing me in a wheelchair and rejecting me for my disability never let me attend the face-to-face round.
“For over five months we planned and promoted the job fair across Mumbai, in print and on the social media — WhatsApp groups and Facebook posts — to ensure that the event attracts anyone looking for a job,” says District Secretary Girish Mittal.
Keeping in mind that the main purpose of the fair was to provide jobs to the unemployed youth the Rotary Rozgar Mela was kept informal with “no suits and no boardroom. All employers and employees sat face to face. They could walk-in in casuals and discuss the job profile and work culture of the organisation they were aspiring to work for. Employers met potential employees, which saved valuable time in the recruitment process.”
“I could discuss my condition spot-on across the table with my employer as I knew that support and adjustments were available,” says Priyesha. Praising her employer, she adds, “they have special workstations exclusively for people in wheelchairs. However, from qualifying for the job to growth in career, we are evaluated on strict performance metrics. There are no concessions in that.”
Some employers have also encouraged their newly recruited staff to take advantage of their skill development programmes, post hiring. Pankaj
S Hande from Mulund who has been hired by IT Source Technology says, “These training programmes will help me stay updated with current software trends and enhance my career growth.”
For Shripad S Bane, who has been hired as a security person at a private company, this job fair has given him back his “zindagi. Now
I can send my daughter for dance class. Uska bada mann tha (she wanted to learn) but I did not have the money. I can’t thank Rotary enough for
DG Prafull Sharma appreciated and thanked all the clubs and Rotarians of D 3141 who contributed in making this Rozgar Mela a success. This project is now going to be an annual affair.