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Diya Innovations opens doors of opportunities for adults with disabilities

Diya Innovations in Bengaluru provides disabled adults with skills necessary for self-awareness along with training to become productive at work. Members of Diya work with corporate companies while others run their businesses from home. In a span of six years, they have empowered hundreds of adults with disabilities.

After basic education and training, most adults with disabilities are left in the dark wondering what to do next. There are a handful of corporate and private companies that provide employment opportunities, but the demand of those who seek employment is way higher than what is provided. Over the years, studies and surveys have pointed out that the workforce of people with disabilities are inevitable for the success and smooth-running of the economy. NGO's like Diya Foundation that empower adults with disabilities are focusing on how to create the best opportunities for adults with disabilities. Their venture Diya Innovations, which was started six years back, reaches out to disabled adults to make them self-reliant and independent.

A brain child of Suman John who was a former trustee of the foundation, Diya Innovations has already empowered hundreds of adults with disabilities in its last six years. People with Down syndrome, autism, multiple disabilities and cerebral palsy are all part of this venture. Diya provides these adults with skills necessary for self-awareness and also to become productive at both work and home. The training which usually lasts for five years or more, helps them to know better about personal and vocational skills. After that, Diya helps them to find jobs with companies or start their own ventures at home.

There are many centres that offer training and other facilities to both children and adults with disabilities. But what next after the training is completed? We want to create livelihood opportunities for adults with disabilities so that they can stand on their own feet. Their skills have to be put to maximum use-Suman John, Founder, Diya Innovations.

Members of Diya makes products from paper, chocolates, candles and sweets. They even started a stitching unit recently where young adults are taught basic of how to stitch buttons etc. They have already experimented with over 400 different types of products.

Suman says that corporate companies have to go a long way when it comes to creating inclusive work spaces. But things are definitely changing for the better. "Our first placement was done five years back with Unilever. Two of our members were hired there mainly because I knew someone from the senior management who wanted to make their work space inclusive. Both of them still work there and has got a remarkable pay hike too. In fact, we show this duo as an example to other companies who are interested to hire adults with disabilities, says Suman.

Recently, Diya Innovations participated in the Mission 1000 programme held in Bengaluru where companies came together to hire disabled people and also buy products made by them. As the name says, their task was to complete this mission in 1000 days. Companies like Microsoft, Dell, Shell, Café Coffee Day and Hatti Kaapi offered youngsters chance to do internships, hired some of them and even brought products made by these young talents.

"Not everyone can work successfully in this competitive world. Some people need support when it comes to employment. That is why we started Diya Innovations. These youngsters definitely face many challenges and issues while working. But they can manage it well. Our members who have been hired and working with companies are doing extremely well, says Suman.

Suresh Perumal who has cerebral palsy is an integral part of Diya Innovations since the last four years. He is a paper crafter and screen printer. Perumal oversees a group of newspaper bag makers and ensures that the team meets targets without fail. He also ensures that delivery deadlines are met and sometimes does deliveries too.

"I thoroughly enjoy my job with Diya. I had a bunch of trainers who helped me out really well in doing my job. Until a few years back, I never thought I could earn for myself. But I have a job of my own and can do things independently now, says Perumal.

If you want to get in touch with Diya Innovations, you can mail them at suman@diyainnovations.com.

ALSO READ: Career choices for people with autism

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