Being speech-and-hearing-impaired (SHI) has been a major hurdle for many youngsters to find employment, mostly because workplaces aren’t equipped to assist and support SHI employees. However, we, at Amazon India, have taken special efforts to ensure that our workplaces are inclusive and are places where every individual can find professional growth.
A few SHI associates share their inspiring stories of being not just highly productive at their workplace, but also tell us how they find comfort while working at Amazon’s fulfilment centres. Read on...
Stories of resilience
Monika, an Amazon Associate, who works in a Fulfillment Centre in Delhi, was just 10 years old when she met with an accident, which left resulted in burn injuries to almost 75% of her body. Add to this, she was married off young, and her husband turned out to be an alcoholic and an abuser, who often hit Monika and the children. Monika eventually walked out of that marriage.
“I came to Farukhnagar (Haryana) with my children. It was difficult to survive and I knew I have to be financially independent to take care of my kids. Fortunately, I got an opportunity to join Amazon FC as a warehouse associate,” she says. Today, Monika is able to pay for her children’s education, thanks to her income from Amazon. She says that her 16-year-old daughter and 14-year-old son are both studying at a private school and that gives her a lot of relief.
'Inclusive and hence more productive'
Shivam Mishra from Kanpur is another SHI Associate, who faced various challenges before finding his livelihood at a Delhi Fulfillment Centre. Recalling his childhood, Shivam says, “When I was a child, my parents used to try to teach me as they wanted me to study. I joined school when I was 10, but since the school was not equipped to cater to SHI children, I couldn’t understand anything my teachers taught me, and eventually I had to leave that school. After a lot of effort, my parents found me a Sign Language Training Center in Delhi, when I was 14. There I learnt sign language and started looking for a job in Delhi.”
“At Amazon, the environment is quite inclusive and hence I am more productive”
This paid off and Shivam found himself working again. He says, “Before joining Amazon, I had worked in two hotels and a corporate organization. Being the only SHI employee in these workplaces – which had no interpreters – I often faced some discrimination from colleagues, and had no option but to quit. That’s when I came to know about Amazon and its environment from the SHI community. And after joining I have experienced this. The environment is inclusive and hence I am productive. An interpreter at the workplace helped my non-SHI employees communicate with me with ease. Amazon has given me a platform wherein I can grow and earn in dignity,” he says.
Survival of the strong-willed
Another SHI Associate who has found contentment at his job is Praful Prabhakar Ghanbahadur from Nagpur. Working as an associate at our Mumbai warehouse, this is Praful's first job. Earlier he was helping his father in farming.
“With the job at Amazon I was able to manage all expenses for my wedding, and my parents were proud of me”
"This job at Amazon makes me feel secure and safe. Availability of interpreters at workplace is the biggest plus point for me, as only few companies provide it. Usually, even if some companies hire SHI employees, there are no proper communication channels for us. But in Amazon, with the availability of interpreters, it becomes very easy for us to communicate,” he says.
On the perrsonal front, the soon to be father says, "This job allows me to manage all expenses, so much so that I even financed my own wedding and my parents were proud of me! I’m planning to construct my own house in my village next year and I have started saving for the same. Timely salary and transport facility at work, along with leave provisions, are just some of the many reasons why I like my job at Amazon."