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Challenges Faced by Goa’s People with Disabilities in Employment Explored at International Purple Fest

As part of the ongoing International Purple Fest in Goa, a panel discussion titled “Championing Inclusivity: Sharing Experiences in Employing People with Disabilities (PwDs)” shed light on the challenges faced by people with disabilities in securing employment. The event was organized by the Goa Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) in collaboration with the State Commission for Disabilities, Keystone Institute India, and Sangath.

Minister for Industries, Mauvin Godinho, served as the chief guest, and Subhash Phal Dessai, Minister for Social Welfare, was the guest of honor, overseeing the International Purple Fest. The panel discussion emphasized that despite constituting 8-10% of the population, PwDs encounter difficulties in finding employment opportunities.

The event saw the presence of Guruprasad Pawaskar, State Commissioner for PwDs; Elizabeth Neuville, Executive Director, Keystone Institute India; and Monica Bariya, Chairperson, Sangath.

In her welcome address, GCCI Vice President Pratima Dhond stressed the importance of integrating PwDs into the mainstream of society. Dhond urged the government to formulate disability-friendly policies within industries to promote the employment of PwDs.

Setting the tone for the discussion, Percy Cardozo, a psychologist from Sangath, highlighted the need to treat persons with disabilities as worthy adults. The panel discussion, moderated by Leela Raj, Project Leader at Keystone Institute India, featured diverse perspectives from professionals like Alyx Albuquerque, entrepreneur and business owner; Rebecca Sikha, creative partner; Suman John, managing director; Faisal Ashraf Nomani, talent acquisition specialist; Neha Satish, CSR representative; Suresh P, supervisor in wood and paper unit; Akita Bahl, DLI manager Asia; and Srideep Dutta, kitchen assistant.

The discussion underscored the transformative impact of employing persons with disabilities in mainstream businesses, providing not only financial stability but also fostering a sense of respect, belonging, purpose, and pride. The panelists called for a collective effort to create an inclusive environment that recognizes the potential and contributions of individuals with disabilities in the workforce.

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