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People with disabilities need an opportunity, not sympathy - My Take

In 2013 I set up my own company in the travel and tourism sector, devising packages for colleges, companies and schools.

About a year ago, I was in a market where I saw a young woman with burn scars on her face. She was selling balloons and had two kids. She said she was an acid attack victim. After the attack, she lost her job as a security guard and her husband abandoned her. No one was willing to give her a job.

That set me thinking about hiring people who face such barriers. Today, I have six employees, all of whom are visually impaired women.

Their job is to call potential clients and tell them about holiday packages and trips we organize like adventure camps, family trips etc. I have trained them myself on how to approach clients on the phone, market the packages and cope with demanding clients.

There were many challenges. My office is on the fourth floor so getting there was hard for them. I worry about their safety so I make sure they all call me when they leave for work and after they get back home.

When I started, many friends told me that I was being foolish, that I had not thought this through. That was a little discouraging. Today, in less than a year, my network has grown to over a 100 people.

I don't advertise the fact that my staff is visually impaired, but when people get to know they are very encouraging and appreciative.

The team has learned so much and has proved their ability to deliver. They help make presentations and even accompany groups on trips. They are hungry for a chance to prove themselves.

About the Writer

Akash Bharadwaj is the founder of Khaas, a travel agency in Delhi that employs the visually impaired and acid attack survivors. His ambition is to set up a branch in every state with a blind staff. He is looking for funding via Ketto.

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