Wheelchair user Febin Joy hopes for workspaces where disabled people are given equal opportunities
Febin Joy, a 30-year-old wheelchair user from Kochi works as an executive with a marine company. Though Febin’s company is very supportive, this youngster feels that it is high time that more companies become inclusive. Disabled people must be given equal opportunities, only then will there be inclusion in true sense.
Life was going perfectly well for 30-year-old Febin Joy. This youngster who hails from Kochi had a good job and a happy life, just like any other person of his age. But fate had other plans for him. He met with an accident in the year 2015 due to which his spinal cord was injured leaving him on a wheelchair for the rest of his life. Post an accident, the struggles were many. But Febin sits on his wheelchair and works from home, one way of becoming independent. But he hopes that someday, workplaces will be more inclusive for disabled people. Companies will hire disabled people and understand their physical limitations so that work can be made flexible.
Febin lives at Palluruthy in Kochi. After completing his school till class 12, Febin, who always dreamt of ships and sailing, enrolled for a course in marine engineering. Meanwhile, he also finished his engineering from the famous CUSAT University. He was working on a nine months contract with merchant navy and in the meantime, was preparing for competitive exams as well.
This was in the year 2015. While travelling with a friend on bike, the duo met with an accident and Febin was thrown off the bike. The intensity of the accident left him with a spinal cord injury. “I don’t remember what happened in that brief while. I became conscious when an MRI scan was being done on me”, remembers Febin.
Soon, the doctors told him about his condition. According to Febin, he still hasn’t accepted his disability, but has to cope with it. Bed-ridden for over seven months, Febin started doing things on his own.
In 2018, he became part of Sahai Rehabilitation center in Coimbatore. “Being there helped me a lot. I could also meet many people like me”, he says.
Learning to be independent
Currently, Febin works for a company as an executive. He works from home, but still faces many challenges. “I’am looking to improve my income though I can meet my basic needs now”, he says.
He further adds, “I’am still bed-ridden. I only got used to this new life. I think we all need to adapt to changes”, he says.
He lives with his parents and siblings who support him. The company where he currently works is also ensuring that he gets the best facilities. They even made him their permanent employee last January. “I need to buy better assistive devices and do physiotherapy on a regular basis. I need money for all that though my financial stability is OK for now”, he says.
Need for inclusive work spaces
Febin, along with a few others started Blue E that provides accessibility services to disabled people. This includes accessibility audits, design appraisals, design and implementation and also consultation. Febin, who is a co-founder, hopes to make the best out of it.
He points out that most companies are not ready to hire disabled people into their work force citing reasons like they cannot meet deadlines and so on. “It is obvious that we cannot work like a person without a disability. We have health limitations. So companies must give us flexible schedules so that there is inclusion”, he points out.
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