‘Individuals experience a sense of freedom by gaining economic independence’.
Not being able to experience this freedom continues to present a major challenge for people with disabilities. Over 80% of people with disabilities of working age in India remain out of work or gainful employment. The situation is far worse in rural villages and towns as compared to urban cities.
While there has been some improvement in access to employment opportunities in urban areas in the country, a majority of people with disabilities in India, live in rural villages and small towns. There are very few opportunities for gainful employment locally and migrating to urban cities isn’t a viable or sustainable option. People with disabilities have largely remained isolated and socially excluded.
Societies the world over are deprived of an estimated US$1.37 to 1.94 trillion in annual loss in GDP due to the lack of access to gainful employment for people with disabilities. (ILO)
Disability Entrepreneurship and Leadership (DEAL) Foundation works to build individual and community resilience through the creation of sustainable livelihoods. Using the self-help model, people with disabilities are supported and encouraged to come together into small groups and form local networks to share common experiences, learning and offer peer-to-peer support.
They receive support to:
1. Identify, evaluate and choose livelihood options that are right for them;
2. Acquire livelihood skills;
3. Access public entitlement support;
4. Access financial inclusion support through bank linkages;
5. Access information on income generating opportunities through micro and small enterprises;
6. Access funding for start-up of livelihood activities;
7. Identify and access local markets for their produce;
8. Display and promote their products at exhibitions;
9. Form producer groups and organisations.
Work is currently underway to form producer groups across horticulture; dairy; poultry; goat and sheep raring; and small retail traders.
Through effective engagement across these activities people with disabilities in Mundergi Taluk Gadag District, have used their initiative to set themselves free from social and economic exclusion.