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5 Simple Ways Your Workplace Can Be More Inclusive Of People With Disabilities

Companies and management have realised the call for employing individuals with disabilities as a step to empower and encourage them. A lot of companies are hiring individuals with special needs to a sufficient extent. But the fact is that it is still not sufficient enough because many people with disabilities are unemployed and looking for jobs.

Before you could give employment to people with disabilities, you need to build a workplace that is inclusive, where everything is accessible to disabled employees. After that, you need to look for the deserving and talented candidates and welcome them to the company.

Here are some of the tips to help you as an employer to build a disabled-friendly workplace:

Getting To Know Them Better

Most of the times, not only employees but also managers are not aware of the needs of the specially-abled employees in the workplace. Therefore, to create a disabled-friendly environment, it is vital that all other employees are mindful of the fact that people with disabilities are also an essential part of their workforce.

Individual training sessions or classes will help other employees to understand how they can deal with their specially-abled co-workers in the best possible ways. Also, in the case of an emergency, other employees can help their co-workers who have special needs with the help of these training sessions.

Accessibility Will Make Them Feel Accepted

The best way to make people with disability feel wanted in the company is to provide them with a workplace which is fully accessible to them. Doorways with wheelchair accessibility, ramps, and use of braille at some of the essential points or areas in the workplace are the most common ways in which you can make a workplace accessible for people with disabilities.

Not just at the workplace, you have to take the necessary steps to make all your company’s contact details, and social media support available and accessible for the specially-abled.

Give Them Proper Tools And Make Them Feel Comfortable

The next big thing after employing candidates with disabilities in your company is to provide them with the most suitable and helpful tools and equipment to make their work easy and comfortable in the workplace. Anything from a disabled-friendly parking area, to a ramp and elevator instead of a staircase, could help differently-abled people to a great extent.

Some other tips could include – fitting of plugs or sockets at such a height which is easily accessible for them, providing them with height adjustable desk and chairs, etc.

Removing of physical barriers will help the companies to encourage more employees with disabilities to join their business, and it will also raise the goodwill of the company as it is setting a great example by uplifting this section of the society, encouraging and helping them lead a better life.

An Unbiased Boss Is Always A Great Boss

Once they become an essential member of your workforce and start feeling comfortable in the workplace, the next step is to provide an unbiased working environment. I don’t it is necessary to be extra lenient with any employee, tor o show sympathy. As a great boss, one of your most important duties is to give honest feedback to all your employees without being biased.

Leniency could lead to diminishing performance and productivity. Nowadays, the mindset of specially-abled people is also changing. They don’t want others to treat them differently or offer any unnecessary extra care or sympathy. All they want is to be treated equally, just like any other employee in the workplace.

Providing necessary facilities to specially-abled people and showing extra care for them are two completely different things. In my opinion, a perfect boss is someone who expects the best results from his/her employees by giving them an honest piece of advice and feedback and also looks into solving the issues of the employees.

A Special Committee For Them

Lastly, just like we have committees for different problems, as a good boss, you should form a select support committee for the disabled employees in a company. The job of this selected committee will be simple, i.e. listen to the concerns of the specially-abled employees and come up with the best possible solution.

Such support groups will help them raise the issues that they face in the workplace and be honest and clear about it all. Not only will it help them but it will also help you to know what your employees feel about the workplace and then only you will be able to find a solution to the problems.

Conclusion

Employing specially-abled employees to your company is all in all a win-win situation for you. They will add more to the productivity and creativity quotient of your workforce. Not just that, it will build a sharp image of your company or brand in society. Many companies are already doing so much for disabled candidates by providing them with a satisfactory job and uplifting them. The time is perfect for you to adapt to this diverse workforce culture and take a step ahead to help the ones who need it the most. There are thousands of other ways to build a disabled-friendly workplace, and you as a leader can set an example, the choice is always yours!

 

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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