Sugandha Sukrutaraj – Creating sustainable employment opportunities for the mentally challenged

The joys of employment, and the opportunity to make a living are very normal to us and most of us likely take these for granted without recognising how privileged we are. Seldom, do we think of those who are intellectually less privileged and are consequently denied this joy of life.

Sugandha Sukrutaraj, founder of AMBA CEEIC (Centres for Economic Empowerment of Intellectually Challenged), is tirelessly working towards this cause by training the most marginalised section of society in India.

AMBA trains and employs intellectually challenged adults with IQs below 65 for business processing. Using innovative teaching methodologies, Information Technology, peer-to-peer training (under supervision), AMBA enables its trainees to take on increasingly complex work. The intellectually challenged community does not have the social or reasoning skills to work in a mainstream environment, so AMBA collaborates with special institutions across the country to provide a suitable environment. It does this by guiding them into becoming hubs for training and employment.

Sugandha shares, “The mentally challenged community comprise 3% of India’s population, about 30 million people. Most Government schools accept and patronise this community until the seventh standard, a tough journey comprised mostly of low self-esteem and constant ridicule. Their inability to speak for themselves, delayed milestones, limited cognitive skills and inability to go through formal education limits them further. At AMBA the learning process is appropriate and specific to each individual’s limitations. Their success in achieving visual data entry skills boosts their morale and self-esteem and in turn increases productivity. Though the average level of productivity is 1/5th of a mainstream data operator, our revenue model shows room for profit as well as scalability.”

Sugandha has been awarded the prestigious Ashoka Fellowship for her exemplary work. She proudly shares, “Having tested out training within 31 collaborations, we realised the AMBA CEEIC training model works really well within 25 collaborations. We have tested back office work with 12 institutions and the results are amazing. There was 0% attrition. The accuracy levels, we are told by our employers, is higher than regular people doing data-entry and their ability to meet timelines is 100%. We have therefore decided to accelerate scale. We have collaborated with over 100 institutions. We have already completed the training for nearly 50 centres and will complete training for the remaining centres by September 2014. Our focus is towards rural India and the scope is enormous and doable.”

AMBA has so far imparted training to 1200 mentally challenged adults and their aim is to reach and empower 25,000 families by 2018.

Sugandha has spearheaded an organisation that has enabled mentally challenged adults to earn a livelihood and live with dignity. At WEBO Power, we applaud Sugandha’s tenacity, ingenuity and tireless effort to bring this marginalised community into the mainstream work force.

Interviewed By: Supriya Mathur, Team WEBO Power
Posted On: December 02, 2013


3 Comments on “Sugandha Sukrutaraj – Creating sustainable employment opportunities for the mentally challenged”

  1. Kiran Varma #

    Dear Sugi,

    Touching so many lives, making a difference to so many people is no ordinary feat!
    And you are no ordinary person!

    Best wishes,

    Warm regards

    December 24, 2013 at 3:12 pm Reply
  2. Anita Nohwar #

    Some people are meant to make a difference !Sugi is one such special angel,to the many whose lives she has touched.A heart of gold and a warm ,loving persona…..I am fortunate to have her as my friend.Sugi,more power to you.

    December 24, 2013 at 12:56 pm Reply
  3. Renuka Chhabra #

    Dear Sugi

    Thats the name I know when I first interacted with you as a new bride .
    it feels such an honour now to have known you in person specially after reading achievemnts of AMBA.

    Wishing you all the best.

    December 24, 2013 at 5:55 am Reply

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