Chennai BPO CAN DO is enabling people with disabilities to realise their potential in the workforce
For Alaigar Perumal, losing his vision midway through his engineering degree was a big setback. With grit and hard work, he completed his program, but getting a job was another matter altogether.
"I am from a small village in Tamil Nadu called Sivaganga", says Alaigar Perumal, Manager, Indian Bank. "Even though I had an engineering degree, I did not get a job for two years because of my disability. My family was unwilling to let me live too far away as well as they were worried about how I would be able to cope."
He convinced his family and moved to Chennai for a computer course when he heard about CAN DO, a BPO that trains and provides employment services for people with disabilities.
Founded by Anuradha Krishnamurthy, CAN DO focusses on the abilities of disabled people. It offers them training and jobs in tele-calling and data/desk research services.
I am a social worker and was with the NGO Banyan for five years. We had these two visually impaired interns who joined this marketing company that I founded. I was sure that I wanted the office to be an inclusive venture. Tele-calling is an integral part of a market research organization so we looked at setting up systems that would include them - Anuradha Krishnamurthy, Chief CAN DO
Krishnamurthy was very clear that she wanted CAN DO to be self-sustaining like any other BPO, but with a clear, unique mission - to train and employ people with disabilities.
Inclusive for all
CAN DO, which launched in 2012, aims to be inclusive and reaches out to people with different kinds of disabilities, tapping into their skill sets. The BPO has its own set of clients, most of them start-ups.
People with visual impairments are a natural fit in tele-calling, and newcomers in this field are guided at CAN DO by a senior employee, who trains them in soft skills.
Vijay, who has been working in the tele-calling section for three years, enjoys speaking to different customers.
One of my friends referred me to CAN DO. I like my profession because every day I get to handle different customers. I get a chance to talk to different people. Everyone has a different attitude and I like the challenges that come with that. If everyone is given an opportunity, they will prove themselves - Vijay, CAN DO employee
There is another team dedicated to data mining and database formation, which is made up of people who are hearing impaired. They are guide by a project coordinator.
Wings to fly
CAN DO is a launchpad for many people with disabilities, who have gone on to enjoy successful careers elsewhere.
Like S Raja. This visually impaired manager at IDBI Bank, credits his career growth to the training he received at CAN DO.
My experience at CAN DO helped me to improve my language skills. I learned how to handle clients on the phone and understand their requirements. It was very useful - S Raja, Assistant manager, IDBI Bank
A basic graduation degree is a must to hired by CAN DO although exceptions are made in rare cases. Krishnamurthy and her team are currently working with a school of young adults with autism. The aim is to teach them basic MS skills, so they can work in a cafÃ©.
Truly an inspiring initiative that is showing the world the ability in disability. Also helping to shape attitudes such that disability is seen not as a limitation, but an opportunity.