Informational RESOURCE: Disability Web Portal Launched in India

Posted on 14 April 2008. Filed under: Cross-Disability, Education and Training Opportunities, Employment, Jobs & Internships, News, Opportunities, Rehabilitation, Resources, South Asian Region | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

A new interactive web portal for people with disabilities in India, called Punarbhava, has launched. This initiative of the Rehabilitation Council of India (RCI) and Media Lab Asia is targeted not only at persons with disabilities but also non-government organizations (NGOs), policy makers, caregivers, service providers, people working in the disability sector, and the public at large who wish to learn more about disability and related issues.

Among other things, the portal provides census
information about disabilities in India
and other data; information about various national and international laws affecting disabled people in India; information on documentaries and films or publications about disabilities; assistance in locating vocational training centers in India; information for rehabilitation professionals; resources for people with disabilities who are job hunting in India; information on training programs for professionals who wish to work with people with disabilities; and more.

People may learn more about the purpose of the Punarbhava web portal by reading its FAQ. Or start exploring the portal by following the link to:

We Can Do first learned about the Punarbhava web portal through the Disabled Peoples International e-newsletter. More detail was gathered at the Punarbhava web portal itself.

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CONFERENCE: Global Youth Enterprise

Posted on 23 February 2008. Filed under: Announcements, Employment, Events and Conferences, youth | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

In developing countries alone, there are 1.3 billion youth, both with and without disabilities. Many of them need jobs. But young people, who may lack both skills and experience, find that a challenge.

This September 15 to 16, 2008, in Washington, DC, USA, Making Cents International will convene practitioners, donors, educators, youth, members of the private sector, representatives of governments, and other partners in youth enterprise, entrepreneurship, and livelihood development for the Global Youth Enterprise Conference. This conference is for individuals who are committed to investing in young people. It is meant to give participants the opportunity to share lessons, good practice, and ideas for how they can create more economic opportunity for young people.

Conference organizers are accepting session proposals for Breakout Sessions. All proposals should be submitted by April 4, 2008. Submit as early as possible. Their preferred mode of receiving session proposal is via email to This could be an opportunity for people involved with disabled youth to submit proposals for sessions focused on disability issues. As one possible example, perhaps you know about a project that has successfully helped young people with disabilities find or create jobs. Or perhaps you can share pragmatic tips with mainstream youth programs about how they can become more inclusive of disabled youth in their activities.

For more information about criteria for proposals, or alternate means for submitting them, please follow the link to:

The conference organizers also invites exhibitors to rent table space ($650 if you apply before April 18, 2008; $800 if you apply between April 18 and July 31, 2008). Interested exhibitors should read more detail at the conference web site at:

The main web site for the conference is at:

We Can Do first learned about this conference by browsing the World Bank disability “news and events” page.

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Also at We Can Do: catch up with the news; explore resources, toolkits, or funding and fellowship opportunities that might be helpful for your organization; find research, reports, papers, or statistics; or look up conferences, events, call for papers, or education/training opportunities.

This blog post is copyrighted to We Can Do ( Currently, only two web sites have on-going permission to syndicate (re-post) We Can Do blog posts: and If you are reading this anywhere else, then you are most likely reading a web site that regularly plagiarizes the work of other people.

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Dying for Employment

Posted on 1 August 2007. Filed under: Employment, News | Tags: , , , , |

Some people want jobs so badly they’re willing to die for them. Literally.

When I have had the opportunity to talk with Deaf or disabled people from developing countries, I usually seize the chance to ask what they think Deaf or disabled people in their country need the most. For a large number of them, the first word out of their mouth (or the first sign on their hands) is: JOBS. In other words, what most Deaf people and people with disabilities want is a way to earn their own living. To put food on the table, keep a roof over their heads, and clothes on their back, for themselves and their families. All by their own labor. They don’t want handouts or charity. They want JOBS.

Jobs, however, are rather thin on the ground when you have a disability. Even in rich countries, studies have repeatedly found that unemployment rates among people with disabilities are high. Yes, that’s people who CAN work and WANT to work. Although some disabled people genuinely cannot work, many others would love to have a job — if only they had both the right skills and training and also an employer willing to hire them. And if only the social welfare system that made it easier for them to transition to paid employment without worrying about losing their health insurance. Or if they didn’t need to worry about being cut off from benefits if the job doesn’t pay enough or doesn’t work out.

In some developing countries, finding a decent-paying job may be tough even for non-disabled people. For people with disabilities who must overcome stigma, it can be even tougher. Too many employers–in any country–simply assume that a disabled person will not be productive at all. Or they assume that a disabled person can only appropriately work in certain, limited occupations. Or if the current job description requires a person to spend a few minutes of the day on the phone, then instead of looking at ways to trade off job responsibilities with someone else in the office, an employer may assume that a deaf applicant cannot or should not take the job.

Earlier today, I learned via Lady Bracknell’s post at BBC Ouch that a group of 12 men with disabilities in Varanasi, India, were so desperate to retain their one source of livelihood that they drank pesticide as a form of public protest. It seems their shops had been taken from them. When they tried to speak out in protest, they weren’t heard. So they swallowed pesticide. And five of them have died–so far. It remains to be seen whether the other seven will join them.

When people with disabilities are able to work for a living, everyone wins. Disabled people gain more economic control over their lives. Employers gain talented, ambitious, loyal and productive workers. Governments take in more taxes–which can then be used to invest more in education and health clinics for everyone. People shouldn’t have to kill themselves for a job.

See the links above for the information that is known as of now about the situation in India. If anyone knows more detail about this situation, please post your links or information in the comments area.

Guest bloggers are welcome to submit essays, announcements, resources, articles, case studies, and opinion pieces of their own to “We Can Do.” I encourage you to first read the Introduction to We Can Do.

I don’t have a written set of guidelines for guest bloggers–yet. But I’m working on them. In the meantime, if you’re interested, please contact me at ashettle [at] (Replace [at] with the at sign @ and type the email address as one word with no spaces. Sorry to present my email address in such a cumbersome way. I’m trying to prevent my email address from being hijacked by even more spam harvesters than the five million who have already been flooding my email box.)

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