The ICRC and v-shesh Learning Services Private Limited organized a sensitization workshop on 12 September 2023 at India Habitat Centre, New Delhi, titled ‘Progressing #DisabilityConfidence@Workplace’. The event combined panel discussions and interactive sessions to promote awareness, understanding, and practical strategies for inclusive hiring. Over 30 companies, various NGOs, the International Labor Organization (ILO), the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the US Embassy participated in the workshop. In addition to ICRC colleagues from New Delhi, disability inclusion advisors from Cambodia, Myanmar and Yemen participated virtually. The ICRC, v-shesh, UNDP, and ILO delivered keynote addresses. Patrick Glennon, ICRC Disability Inclusion Specialist, co-facilitated one of the sessions.

In his remarks, Kedir Awol Omar, Head of the Regional Delegation for India, Nepal, Bhutan and the Maldives, said, “Apart from enhancing the employability skills of persons with disabilities, there is a need to engage with employers to create equal opportunities for them to grow and excel in their professional journey.”

In addition to raising awareness about disability inclusion, the program dispelled myths and misconceptions surrounding disabilities to foster a more empathetic and understanding workplace environment. Employers were also presented with compelling evidence that disability inclusion can positively impact business performance, innovation, and productivity. In addition to sharing best practices, panellists and corporate representatives discussed legal and ethical obligations related to disability inclusion in the workplace.

Creating disability-inclusive workplaces is a legal mandate and no longer a matter of choice. It may not be easy, but the merits far outweigh the efforts, resulting in access to a wider talent pool, higher retention rates, enhanced engagement and productivity, and a stronger brand as an employer of choice for all, said Kirti Sharma, Disability Specialist-Development Initiatives, Confederation of Indian Industry.

As part of the initiative, participating organizations and companies aim to monitor the implementation of disability-inclusive policies and initiatives. The goal is to include more employers that offer a diverse range of employment across multiple industries and sectors so that PwDs can access a broader range of jobs.

Fostering and building disability confidence at the workplace is a present continuous process. It’s time for partnerships like that of ICRC and v-shesh to expand so that all the employers and enablers can come together and build inclusive workplaces”, said Rashi Soman, Founding Team Member, v-shesh.