World Bank stated that, India has around 8 crore differently abled out of its total population of more than 130 crore. Almost 70 percent of the total disabled lives in rural areas across India.
There are a number of things differently abled want to do or dream of doing. However, lack of proper facilities and right guidance hold them back. According to Census 2011, a majority 17% of the disabled population in India are in the age group of 10-19 years. Specially abled want to be independent, lead a normal life with a good job, a good place to live and people to hang out with.
Differently abled children are five times more likely to drop out of school than other kids. Only 36% of the total disabled population in India is employed, among these 31% are agricultural laborers. This often leads to unemployment among differently abled people and become dependent others.
To help differently abled people get out of misery, advanced technology and education can play a big part. Technology can help turn impossible into possible, and in many instances it has, take Stephen Hawking for example. Other than technology, skilling can help differently abled people get proper training, education and land decent jobs. Skill based courses train people how to work with tools and machinery and teach them “hand work”.
Different technologies that can help differently abled people:
Navigator for visually impaired- Visually impaired differently abled often find it difficult to walk alone outside as they find it difficult to track their exact location and where they should be turning or walking. A navigator designed especially for the visually impaired lets GPS track their location to let them know where they are exactly, and a voice assistant helps them navigate their way through to their destination.
Advanced mobility devices- These devices help people with physical disabilities move around. These are lightweight and use assistive technology to help people get physical activity and exercise. Mobility devices are easy to put on and even easier to function, they give people proper support so they can move around easily.
Apps and technology for easy communication- There are a number of apps which help people with hearing and speech disabilities communicate with others better. There are two way apps which translate sign language and speech for better communication. Smartphones are also provided with special technologies for differently abled people, so they can operate their Smartphone without having to speak or touch it. These smart phones make communication, like texts, voice calls, video calls easier for differently abled people.
Tech wheelchair- These days wheelchairs come with all kinds of technologies packed in them. From speech translator with just eye movements to climbing up the stairs, wheelchairs do it all these days. They also have voice assistants for tasks such as making calls, and GPS integrated to track their location.
Tailoring- Differently abled can learn the basics of stitching and tailoring. They learn how to work with the stitching machine and different types of stitching, cutting clothes in different styles. Differently abled’s is taught how to deal with clients and customers and how to work in professional settings. There are institutes NGOs who provides free of cost course with offering certificate.
Hotel Management (Culinary Arts) – Differently abled who are interested in food and cooking can pursue this course. Differently abled learn about different dishes, recipes, and the ingredients that go into these recipes and how to present food. Differently abled get to learn about different types of food around the world, how to prepare dishes, and the whole procedure of preparing food.
Entrepreneurship- Differently abled can choose a particular field to study entrepreneurship in, such as beauty and wellness. The course will lead them through what entrepreneurship is all about, what it takes to be a good entrepreneur and how to succeed in their chosen field. Differently abled will learn how the field they’ve chosen works, the kind of place appropriate for their business, kind of people they should hire and client servicing.
Carpentry- Differently abled will learn how to work with carpentry tools and big machinery that is required in this work. They can get practical experience and will be hired by companies to work as a professional carpenter rather than an underpaid carpenter working in the unorganized sector.
(The author is the president of Narayan Seva Sansthan, a non-profit organization serving differently able and underprivileged individuals.)