Tuesday, August 26, 2008

CSIM Session 3

These days, my Saturdays are packed both with food for stomach and for thought :)
This was the third session and we had Ms.Shanti Raghavan to talk to us on SE.

Let me begin by introducing her. She is the founder of EnAble India, an organization which works for empowering disabled people in India. She worked in the U.S of A for some years before moving to India.
It was interesting to know what prompted her to start this initiative. She has a brother who suffered from progressive vision loss and she wanted to do everything possible so that he lead a normal life. So, she googled to find out more about support groups for such kind of illness, helped him pursue every thing he ever wanted. In the due course of time, she had so much information on how to handle visually impaired (VI) people. As she realized this, she wanted to share this with everyone and that's when the seeds for Enable India was sown.

All our discussion was based on her work, how society views disabled people, the challenges she faces in her work. While she gave us a brief of what enable india does, she wanted us to understand the challenges of her job. So, the class was split in to 3 groups and each group was given a question to answer.

Group 1 - If you are a SE working for empowerment of disabled people, what incentives would you give a company for them to hire the disabled?

Group 2 - How would you teach the Hearing Impaired (HI) work ethics, for example coming to office on time?

Group 3 - How would you handle the task of making a VI a cook/caterer?

All 3 questions were amazing and needed a lot of thought. We were given around 20 minutes time to come up with all the strategies and creative ideas.

Even before I realized my mind had already set up a big block in front of me and was not wanting to think of how a VI could become a cook. At that point of time, it was impossible for me to let my imagination flow in that way to bring forth some innovative solutions. Without spending much time on my thoughts, I jumped in to the first question which we were supposed to discuss as a group.

At the end of 20 minutes, we all had come up with points, ideas that broke our own mind blocks about disabled people, it shattered some of the assumptions my sub-conscious mind had. The best part at the end of discussing all the 3 questions, I could easily understand that every problem has a solution.

The best example to this was when we were brain-storming on the last topic. We proceeded with this by writing down the responsibilities of a cook, the challenges/barriers a visually impaired person would face and the solution for those.
At the end, it seemed to that there is no hard boundaries to what a disabled person can or cannot do. Let us not impose our mind blocks on them and prevent them from reaching their dreams. I just got reminded of what Will Smith tells his son in the movie Pursuit of Happyness 'Don't ever let someone tell you can't do it. You gotta dream, you gotto protect it. People can't do something and they want tell you you can't do it.' How true that statement is.

This session was so damn interesting that I started taking notes and believe me I filled in 3 long pages. So, I will go back to my notes and see if there is something that I missed posting.

1 comment:

orsenthil said...

Enable India's site should be useful to many. Thanks for sharing.