“Our goal is to achieve a perspective where everyone is at the same level and each individual has a feeling of respect.”
With this noble thought, Shaurya Sinha, an upcoming Stanford University Student, founded SpectraVerse. SpectraVerse works towards bringing differently-abled candidates’ meaningful employment for financial steadiness and human dignity. It has partnered with 4 nationwide NGOs: saarthak, noida deaf society, nabet, and NAB and a database of over 5000+ candidates has been created. They also offer internship opportunities to people with disabilities in various areas like food and beverage industry, data entry industry and hospitality industry. He started this journey in 2015, working with a few NGOs providing education and skills to children with special needs. With his diligent work and relentless attitude, he became the recipient of Pradhan Mantri Rashtriya Bal Puruskar 2020.
When questioned about how hiring people with disabilities will make economic sense to the corporates, Shaurya gave various points on which SpectraVerse plans to further their ambit, the first is that hiring persons with disabilities should be a decision driven not out of empathy or charity, but rather one of economic sense. Diversity Hiring should be a more sustainable thing rather than part of community building project under CSR budget. Companies across the board are working towards making their workforce more inclusive, as diverse workforce works a lot better, as has been demonstrated through various researches by corporates like Accenture and Mckinsey. Another favorable point is that millennials are leaning in towards companies which are more inclusive and have fresh and new perspectives on various things. Companies hiring marginalized community members, or companies promoting zero waste and sustainability are looked up to in today’s corporate world. It makes a lot of sense for their brand image which will be projected to the consumers. People with disabilities also bring a fresh perspective to various things, for example people with autism, which is an intellectual disability, look at things differently. They look to optimize things to the best way possible and make it as efficient as possible. They look at the world in a more structured manner. This obviously gives a lot of benefit to the companies. Another very important factor is that PwD employees tend to stay longer at a company and are more loyal. So overall hiring people with disabilities makes a lot of economic sense and is very beneficial.
Shaurya also talked about how a change in perspective is a very important task that needs to be achieved through awareness sessions and sensitization campaigns. Regressive and patronizing attitudes towards people with disabilities is what makes them disabled, Impairment turns into a disability the movement society disempowers and devalues people with disabilities. The biggest challenge today is the mainstreaming of persons with disabilities. This can only be achieved when we learn to bring this perspective into the workplace. Deteriorating notions like people who have done bad deeds in the past life, end up with some disability in their present life, needs to be tackled and changed. In schools also, both PwD and non-PwD students should be taught in the same classroom. Interaction should be fostered to resolve bias.
Shaurya also talked about the infrastructural changes that need to be accommodated in a way that it does not act as an impediment for the non-disabled people. Basic infrastructure like ramps and braille signs should be available in all public spaces. Workspaces should be made more accessible.
SpectraVerse further plans to develop accessible learning modules for people with disabilities, so that they can learn useful skills, sitting at home during the pandemic period and use their time wisely.
We would like to congratulate SpectraVerse team for their effort and farsightedness and also wish them luck in their further endeavors.