On 15 July, a day when Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the National Skill Development Mission in the Capital, an unusual job fair was being held in Gurgaon, adjacent to the city. The Skill Awareness And Placement Initiative For People With Disabilities aimed to place 35 candidates and educate 85 potential candidates—physically challenged schoolchildren from various schools, including the Deaf and Dumb School, Gurgaon, and Skill Building Centre, Haryana—on the process.
Over the past six years, Sarthak has organized around 80 such fairs for educated and skilled youth across 21 cities, including Dehradun, Bengaluru, Mumbai, Chennai, Bhubaneswar and Guwahati. It has helped an estimated 4,000 people with disabilities get jobs. “The first fair was organized at the Vocational Training Centre at Karkardooma, east Delhi, in 2009,” says Jitender Aggarwal, founder and chief executive officer, Sarthak. A dentist by profession, Aggarwal started the trust in 2008, four years after he partially lost his eyesight.