Centum Foundation launches Centum GRO to skill deaf youth in India

Centum Foundation, the CSR arm of Centum Learning, announced the launch of Centum GRO to train deaf youth in India. The initiative is in collaboration with US-based Global Reach Out (GRO) a non-profit organization run by deaf individuals, which has already imparted leadership skills and entrepreneurial training to over 1,000 deaf youth across India, Kenya, Guatemala, Honduras, and Thailand.

Dr. Madan M. Vasishta, former Chief Advisor to the Indian Sign Language Research and Training Centre, New Delhi and Sanjeev Duggal, CEO and MD, Centum Learning inaugurated the first center. Aarti Chandna, Vice President, Centum Foundation, Dr. Alim Chandani, Associate VP, Centum GRO and senior management from prospective employers such as Lemon Tree, Concentrix, etc. were also present on the occasion. Incidentally, Dr. Alim Chandani will head the first center located at Hauz Khas. Dr. Chandani has dedicated himself to working towards empowering deaf people for over a decade now.

The pilot batch has already commenced with training underway of nearly 40 students who are graduates from various streams. Besides skills training to the deaf candidates, the program will also include ‘workplace sensitivity’ training sessions to potential employers to help companies assimilate people with disabilities more effectively at their workplaces. In the second year of operation, Centum GRO plans to develop and create the first entrepreneurial training program for the deaf community to nurture future entrepreneurs.

Speaking at the launch, Sanjeev Duggal, CEO and MD, Centum Learning said, “Centum Learning has been working for over a decade creating a skilled and empowered India. With Centum GRO we will drive sustainable transformation for the hearing-impaired in the country. There are approximately 12 million deaf people in India, 80% of who have no access to any formal education. But for those who receive formal education, there is a lull after that. We are aiming to provide that last mile connect through soft skills training and entrepreneurship skills empowering young deaf adults. It is indeed a memorable day for us.”

Besides providing much-needed leadership and management skills to deaf youth through this initiative, Centum Foundation will also facilitate jobs and encourage self-entrepreneurship. The training, which will vary from one to three months, is being offered under four segments: Multimedia, Accounting, BPO/DEO, and IT. The minimum eligibility criterion is a Bachelor’s degree (B.A., BFA, B. Com, etc.).

Centum GRO’s proprietary training program is being designed and implemented by deaf experts from the United States. The experts partnering with peers identified in India will share best practices in leadership and management skills and start-up enterprise management with participants of the program. The training model has four components – Educating, Preparing, Training, and Sustaining – where visual aids and multimedia resources are used to enhance visual learning for participants. The program is being funded by Bharti Airtel.

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