I have always aspired to be a part of PTCL. It is an organization with a diverse workforce and is an excellent platform for people who aim to learn and polish their skills. PTCL was on my priority list for the last two years and I hoped I could get into it someday. When I got selected for the Experia Internship I was thrilled beyond words.
During the first week of my internship, I was assigned to a project named Justuju. Another Internship program to be run in parallel to Experia. 15 minutes into the brief I discovered it was not your everyday project. I immediately thought to myself this is going to be amazing!
Let me introduce you to it. Tell me if it doesn’t sound exciting to you too!
Justuju is an Internship Program exclusively designed for Persons with Disabilities (PWDs). A six-week long paid internship promising to mentor twenty candidates virtually at Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi. The cohort comprises of young graduates with a multitude of disabilities primarily hearing/speech impairment in addition to physical and visual impairment. Communication with interns relying on sign language is facilitated through a panel of interpreters available online, courtesy the company’s technical partners; DeafTawk. Each intern has been assigned a mentor who is responsible for their development. They have been given a Disability Sensitivity Training and are equipped to deal with most challenges.
I was really looking forward to interact with these interns. I had mixed expectations because I have never had a chance to interact with people with different needs before. Finally the day came and we had the introductory session. I was elated to see how highly motivated the whole batch was. They were eager to learn and actively participated in the session. It made me a little sad to think that they have been constantly left behind and that they do not get the same opportunities and chances like we do.
Every day into the project I am overwhelmed to see the effort PTCL is putting into making these six weeks worthwhile for each of these interns. It is heartening to see that the organization is committed to provide opportunities for all population groups and instill in them skills needed for employability as well as self-sustainability. It is a leap towards a more diverse and inclusive corporate culture. Mentors are working in developing their time management, organizational skills, communications skills in addition to functional, organizational and industry knowledge. Further value is being added through webinars on digital software, overcoming adversity and creating a personal brand. PTCL believes that ‘disability is not inability’ and is striving to incorporate the same thought in all of its on-boarded interns also.
Experia and Justuju interns were on-boarded 2 weeks apart. I continue to work with these Justuju interns. I talk to them on a regular basis and I have felt no difference really. I don’t know why a person labeled ‘disabled’ is considered as lesser to anyone else. Because they learn just as well as I do. Ofcourse we face communication issues but we successfully overcome it all. Studying books and practical knowledge are two very different things. One thing common between me and a Justuju Intern is that we both came into our respective Internships with bookish knowledge. Over the course of the past few weeks, we have developed practical knowledge based on our individual exposure, projects and capabilities. I can say with a lot of confidence that we will emerge out of this as refined professionals with a fresh perspective to life. All it took was an opportunity!