Breaking Down Barriers
Our workshops for L’OREAL Offices across India
A blog by Dyuti Basu
L’Oreal, like many other corporates, has taken up the endeavour to include all diversities, whether it is gender, ethnicity or disability, and to provide equal opportunities to all. To take positive steps towards building a more inclusive environment in the company, we were invited to conduct disability sensitization workshops in six L’Oreal offices across India, three in Mumbai, and one each in Gurgaon, Kolkata and Bangalore. The latest of the group, which was the Bangalore Workshop, saw people from L’Oreal offices from various South Indian cities coming and participating.
- The workshops at the L’Oreal offices, like all our corporate workshops, consisted of a session conducted by Ritika, who, through a PowerPoint presentation and screening of awareness videos introduced the topic of embracing differences.
- This was followed by a shorter session of dedicated interaction with a self-advocate who accompanied us.
1. For our first session, we were accompanied by Sunita Sancheti, a wheelchair user, who is the very epitome of style and class.
2. In the second session Sharmila Divatia who has a physical disability as a result of having contracted encephalitis during her childhood spoke about her rise in the corporate ladder and the varying attitudes of her colleagues, employers and employees over the years.
3. In the third workshop, Thomas Jacob, who has a 99% hearing impairment, interacted with the audience, sharing various insights regarding deafness and points to keep in mind when interacting with a person with a hearing impairment, especially in a large room.
4. At our session at Kolkata, we were accompanied by a wheelchair user, popular RJ and self-advocate, Den (Sayomdeb Mukherjee).
- Another important segment of our workshops is the demonstration of disability etiquette with the help of volunteers who were chosen from the audience. The most common of these exercises is how to assist a blind person from one place to another wherein the blind person’s hand should rest above the crook of one’s elbow and one should walk a little ahead of the person. The fumbles of the participants who volunteer when learning these rules of etiquette also allow the rest of the group to understand the nuances of disability etiquette even while they shared laughter at the missteps.
- The workshops in Mumbai were followed by a reflexology session by our blind massage therapists from Sparsh Foot Spa. Interactions with the therapists during the session further opened their eyes to the training they had undergone and the qualifications which they had.
All in all, the workshops aimed towards doing away with all prejudices and making people more aware of Persons with Disabilities. It is with an awareness that ignorance is washed away. Barriers break down as we realize that we are each unique, each our person. This is the truth that spans across all diversities. As Sharmila stated during her interaction with the audience, “When patterns are broken, new worlds emerge.”
To view more photographs of our workshops in Corporate Offices, Click Here