PANKH – Wings of Destiny is an initiative by Trust for Retailers & Retail Associates of India (TRRAIN) and Youth 4 Jobs Foundation (Y4J). The initiative aims to train people with disabilities (PwD) and provide them employment opportunities in retail industry. The initiative thus aims to create sustainable livelihoods for PwD and also promote inclusive growth in retail sector
The program was kicked off in May 2011 with mapping of various roles in retail industry to various disabilities. Out of 110 roles identified in retail industry, 30 roles were mapped to people with locomotor and speech & hearing disabilities. Since then 500 people with disabilities have been trained and employed in retail industry under this program.
The program partners various NGOs at regional levels and conducts its training program through the partner. Our centers are currently operational in Hyderabad, Tirupati, Bangalore (with partner - Samarthanam Trust for Disabled and Alamba Charitable Trust) and Mumbai.
Based on our discussion with the retailers, we identify the key requirements of the candidates and special modules if any to be included in the training.
We tie up with local NGO who work with disabilities and announce the training and employment specification and invite PwD youths to participate in the screening session. During the screening, the youths are informed of the training program schedule, job opportunities and career prospects. The screening is conducted with the help of our trainers, counselor and sign language interpreter. The selected PwD youths are asked to report to training center along with certain documents to enroll for training on a specified date. The youths' parents are also encouraged to participate in the same.
The training program provides the complete spectrum skills in a very interactive and easy-to-learn manner with focus on three key skills - Life Skills, English Language Skills and Retail Specific Skills. The youths are also provided 2 days of exposure visits to Malls covering various formats of retail – QSR, Hypermarket, Supermarket, Apparel store, Luxury store etc. Post the 45 day classroom training sessions, the youths are provided 10-15 days of On the job training.
On the completion of training program, retail organizations are invited to evaluate the PwD youths for placements.
Post the placement, the Pankh team provides support to retailers to match the roles vs. disabilities, help the induction process and also conduct Sensitization Workshop for the retailer staff. The counselor continues to be in touch with the retailer as well as the youths to ensure no gaps in understanding.
TRRAIN is a public charitable trust formed in 2011 by Mr. B. S. Nagesh, with the vision of Empowering People in Retail and works to achieve immediate and lasting change in the lives of retail associates in India. We are solely committed to upgrading the lives of people in retail, both at work and at home.
TRRAIN has undertaken various initiatives to enable retail associates to upgrade their skills through TRRAIN Education Program and build pride and dignity through the TRRAIN Retail Awards and Retail Employees Day. TRRAIN's initiative on building inclusive retail work force by training and employing People with Disabilities in Retail roles has received tremendous support from the industry.
Youth 4 Jobs Foundation, founded by Ms Meera Shenoy, helps companies build an inclusive workforce. The team is pioneer in this sector with over a decade experience of working with governments, companies, and rural communities. Y4J expertise lies in working on the entire value chain of taking the youth from unemployment/underemployment to an organized sector job. This means identifying, motivating, training to demands of the market, inviting companies to recruit the youth and mentoring youth in their new work place.
SELF CONFIDENCE & INDEPENDENCE
“My parents are very happy to see me stand on my own feet and they no longer are worried about my future, as I have proved my point that I am no less capable than any other person. My family now supports me in my decisions, they wanted me to get married and settle down but I want to work for few more years before I could even think about marriage. They respected."
Eswaramma is one of the trainees from our first batch at Hyderabad. She is from Nellore district of Andhra Pradesh and has lower limb disability. She dropped out of graduation course due to economic compulsion. Her father, a daily wage labourer was the sole bread earner. Eswaramma convinced her family to join the course and go to Hyderabad for a job.
Post her training with Pankh initiative; she was placed with Hypercity Retail as a Cashier. Its been two years since then and there has been no looking back for Eswaramma. Not only has her salary grown more than 30% in the last 2 years, she has won several recognitions for her work at Hypercity. She supports her family financially and is a role model to her younger sibling.
“I want to own and manage my own retail store someday in my hometown. I want to learn as much as I can here and apply it to my business”
Ramesh L H, works as a Cashier at Total Superstore, Bangalore. This is his first job. He, with lower limb disability, lost his father at a very young age. He has 5 siblings and gave up studies due to economic compulsion. His brothers do odd jobs in his hometown in Koppal District of Karnataka.
It is 6 months since he joined Total Superstore and he is very happy about his transformation. He loves interacting with customers. He feels he now has a sense of discipline and personal hygiene.
“I am very positive about my life. My parents are very proud of me. I have now earned a lot of respect within family and society”
Koosuri Sainath, from Warangal is deaf and works with Dominos since May 2013. He has two siblings, his father is a tailor and his mother assists him. The family was faced with debilitating debt burden and at times would even stretch to manage day-to-day household expenses.
Five months at work, Sainath is a big financial support to his family. He sends money and new clothes to his family. He now wishes to clear the debt at the earliest.
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