Empowering Senior Citizens A workshop on Adding Dignity to the lives of Senior Citizens Organized by Nightingale Empowerment Foundation and Rotary Club of Bangalore Date: 24th April 2014 Venue: Rotary House Friendship, No. 20, Lavelle Road, Bangalore -560001 Guest Speakers: Ms. Chaya Srivatsa - Founder Trustee, Guild of Woman Achievers Rtn. Purnima Ranganath, President, Rotary Club of Bangalore Dr. Indira Jai Prakash - Gerontologist, Former Professor and Chairperson, Dept of Psychology, Bangalore University Mrs. Bharathi Kamath, Managing director, Carewel Facilities India (Pvt.) Ltd. Mr. N. Ahmedali - CEO, Cornucopia Mr. Ramesh Swamy, Trustee, Unnati- SGBS Trust Ms. Pavithra Y.S. - Managing Director, Vindhya E-Infomedia Pvt. Ltd. Dr. Madhura M Chatrapathy , Hon. Director Asian Center for Entrepreneurial Initiatives Mr. Jaivibhava Swamy, Director, Dept for Empowerment of Differently Abled and Senior Citizens Welcome (Ms. Swati Bhandary, Senior Manager, All Projects, Nightingales Medical Trust) She welcomed everyone for the workshop and highlighted the need to find answers to some fundamental questions - “What does Empowerment means to a senior citizen in today’s world?” Is it “social acceptance”, “financial security” or any other aspects which help empower a senior to live a life of dignity? Of all the challenges, the major one is financial empowerment. If a senior citizen is financially independent, other problems such as social recognition, emotional wellbeing etc. would automatically be minimized. There is an immense demand for identifying jobs suitable for elders between 60 to 70 years and to train these elders to be fit enough to undertake jobs of the present day requirements. As most elders of this age group are not fit to work in offices, self employment opportunities are also to be popularized with effective training. To get possible solutions to these challenges, this workshop has been organized to facilitate a platform to have a dialogue, gather opinions of experts and hear the collective voices of senior citizens. Opening Remarks (Mr. Mike Shah, Chairman, Nightingale Empowerment Foundation) He expressed the importance of real stakeholders i.e., senior citizens to be present for the empowerment workshop and to answer the key questions rose as the agenda for the workshop. Nightingales Medical Trust has been involved in various need based projects for the elderly and he felt that Nightingales empowerment Foundation is a very innovative project to empower the elderly financially and making them independent. He briefed the focus of Nightingales Job 60plus in providing two kinds of training, one being the re-skill training while the other being training on socially relevant jobs. He also emphasized that Nightingale Job 60 plus has finished 18 batches of computer training and more than 500 senior citizens have availed jobs. He summarized the agenda of the workshop to look for the meaning of empowerment and come back with a road map for the implementation of the agenda. Chief Guest address (Ms. Chaya Srivatsa - Founder Trustee, Guild of Woman Achievers) About Ms Chaya Srivatsa: A life coach and corporate Trainer, Chaya is Founder Trustee of Guild of Women Achievers, a NGO which helps women in maximising their potential and sharing each other’s know-how through its global network and its internet radio station Women Achievers Radio (W.A.R). Having had a successful track record in Mass communication for over 30 years, Chaya has been in Academics/Advertising/PR/Radio and TV/Journalism/Theater. She continues to share her professional expertise as trainer, with leading corporates. She addressed the gathering very enthusiastically about the importance of the experience gained by each of the senior citizen throughout their life. She expressed the need of documentation of the lessons learnt, experience gained and tapping into their own potential. She said she would be happy to facilitate the documentation process as well as taking their interview in the radio show at radio wala. Guest of Honour address (Rtn. Purnima Ranganath, President, Rotary Club of Bangalore) About Rtn. Purnima Ranganath: She is the President of Rotary club of Bangalore. A law professional, she has years of experience in the field of Law. She started with an introduction about Rotary International, largest NGO in the Globe. She introduced the new project that Rotary is planning to take; TEACH-Literacy for all. She expressed her interest in partnering with Nightingales to take this initiative of empowering the elderly financially there by promoting independence. Session 1: What Empowerment means to senior citizens (Dr. Indira Jai Prakash - Gerontologist, Former Professor and Chairperson, Dept of Psychology, Bangalore University) About Dr. Indira Jai Prakash: She took voluntary retirement from her position as Professor and Chairperson, Department of Psychology, Bangalore University after 30 years of teaching, research, administration and training. She has a Masters in Psychology from Mysore University, and was trained at NIMHANS as clinical Psychologist. Her Doctorate is from NIMHANS, Bangalore. Major areas of interest of Dr. Indira Jai Prakash are gerontology and gender studies. She has published 140 research papers and 18 books and monographs. She is also a renowned trainer and research consultant. She mainly addressed the issue of empowerment in a holistic manner. She touched upon the physical, psychological, emotional and social issues of ageing. The main aspects of empowerment according to her are choices to participate, how to exercise these choices and getting the right opportunity. While addressing the economic angle for senior citizens she gave ideas such as relaxation in retirement age, flexible timing and stretching partial retirement. She strongly pressed on the importance of the non contributory pension scheme introduced by the government. Skill training, pre retirement programs and income generating activities were few more suggestions given by her. Talking about the emotional and social issues, she expressed the need for support groups, day care centers, and community involvement. It also included identifying depression, counseling services, active aging programs and recreational activities. Summarizing her talk, she highlighted the importance of literacy programs, advocacy, sensitization, media, imparting decisions of including senior citizens in the community by policy makers and greater role of NGO in the implementation of the same. Session 2: Jobs Suitable for Elderly (Mrs. Bharathi Kamath, Managing director, Carewel Facilities India (Pvt.) Ltd.) About Mrs. Bharathi Kamath: She is the Managing Director of Carewel India - a facilties Management company set up in 1995. She has more than 12 years experience with Taj & Welcome group having headed the housekeeping departments in both. She has been trained at the Taj Management School. The focus of the talk was around challenges faced by the elders when they are looking out for a suitable job. This included bringing senior citizens into the mainstream jobs, overcoming marginalization and rigid mindset of the senior citizen as well as the society. She felt that computer literacy is on the main tool to empower the senior citizens. She emphasized on the advantages of employing senior citizens such as curtailed job hopping, costing less to the company and they are more focused. Addressing the issue of suitable jobs she suggested options such as data entry, administrative jobs, quality control, call centre and other back office jobs. Session 3: Sourcing Jobs suitable for the Elderly in Industries (Mr. N. Ahmedali - CEO, Cornucopia) About Mr. N Ahmedali: He has over 40 years of Human Resources Management experience in India and is the CEO of Cornucopia – a firm specializing in HR consultation and organization development in the Asia-Pacific region His areas of management expertise include Vision and Values clarification, HR strategy, Change Management, Leadership Development and Executive Coaching. Ahmedali has been the President / Head of various Networks and Associations like Bangalore Chamber of Industries and Commerce, National HRD Network - Bangalore Chapter, Employer's Federation of South India etc. He covered various aspects of sourcing jobs for senior citizens including their strengths, challenges faced during employment and opportunities available. He emphasized on the fact that there are few needs of the employer when they employ senior citizen, which includes sound judgment, good energy, and sense of urgency, commitment and concern for people. When senior citizens take training they should be aware of all these aspects. In terms of the opportunities available in the industry sector he tossed potential options such as entrepreneurship, consultants, part time pharmacist, researchers, hospitality and other administrative roles. He also advocated the importance of developing skills through self training, turning hobbies into vocation and staying healthy to fit in a job. Session 4: Skill development / Vocational training and self employment opportunities for Senior Citizens (Mr. Ramesh Swamy, Trustee, Unnati- SGBS Trust) About Mr. Ramesh Swamy : He is the CEO of the Swamy group of companies. He has always had a deep-rooted involvement with Indian Culture and is passionate about helping to bring change in the lives of the underprivileged; this passion drove him to found SGBS Trust together with a few other like-minded people. He started with a small introduction on Unnati. He envisaged the role of senior citizens as trainers. Most of the trainers in Unnati who are training the under privileged youth are from this section of the society. Documentation, proposal writing and mentoring the youth in right directions were few more roles that Mr. Swamy felt the senior citizens can take. In terms of skill development and vocational training, he felt there is a need for inputs from senior citizens as in what they can still do and would also empower them. Session 5: Empowering Elders in the technology sector (Ms. Pavithra Y.S. - Managing Director, Vindhya E-Infomedia Pvt. Ltd.) About Pavithra Y.S: She is the managing director of Vindhya E Info media Pvt ltd. Vindhya is a socio-economic venture started by her and is the India’s first & only and arguably world’s first & only for profit organization which employs only people with disabilities (PWD’s) as 100% of its production staff. Starting as a first generation entrepreneur she has been able to grow the company from 5 PWD’s to close to 150 PWD’s. Her vision is to employ 5000 PWD’s by 2015. Pavithra has been the recipient of “Shell-Helen Keller Award” from National Center for Promotion of employment opportunity for disabled people, a Govt. of India body, and also the recipient of “TATA-TiE Stree Shakthi Award 2009” for outstanding contribution towards woman entrepreneurship. She addressed the gathering regarding how she along with her husband was able to create employment opportunities for disable in the field of technology. She highlighted the positivity that these people impart in the work environment and how they are not limited by their disability. She gave many examples of people with various kinds of disability and still excelling in the technology sector in their own ways. She felt if people with disability can achieve this much, then senior citizens with ample amount of experience can make a huge difference in the field of technology sector if trained in a focused manner. The abilities of the senior citizens and the expertise can be channelized and utilized to empower them as well as the society. She also expressed that she would be happy to be involved with Nightingales Job 60 plus for this initiative. Session 6: Empowerment through Enterprise (Dr. Madhura M Chatrapathy , Hon. Director Asian Center for Entrepreneurial Initiatives) About Dr. Madhura M. Chatrapathy: A food technologist by profession and owner of Food Associates Bangalore, Dr. Madhura M Chatrapathy is truly a multi-faceted personality. She is the founder of premier institutions such as Association of Food Scientists & Technologies (AFST), Association of Women Entrepreneurs of Karnataka (AWAKE) and currently the Trustee Director of Asian Centre for Entrepreneurial Initiatives (ASCENT). Her pioneering work in the field of entrepreneurship has earned her several accolades nationally and globally. She started her speech by sharing few thoughts on entrepreneurship. She focused on the primary challenge with vocational training that is marketing of the products. She shared few of her experiences in marketing her products with great difficult in spite of the product being of international quality. She felt individually producing something is not economically feasible. Working in groups and collaboration with entrepreneur experts is the way to go. Applying unique and different marketing strategy with self groups and producing different products would be an ideal situation of empowerment through enterprise. It would also give an idea regarding cost, involved in production and sustenance of the business ideas. She also had a detailed interaction with the audience regarding how they can be empowered and she certainly suggested to them that individual working does not work out and they need to work in groups and the marketing should be from a business to business as that is more feasible. Valedictory address: The state govt. initiatives to empower senior citizens (Mr. Jaivibhava Swamy, Director Dept for Empowerment of Differently Abled and Senior Citizens) About Mr. Jaivibhava Swamy: He took charge as the Director, dept of Empowerment of Differently abled and senior citizens in 2012 and has taking up many initiatives to improve and expand the programmes run by the department. He was instrumental in increasing the budgetary allocation for many of the govt schemes. Under his guidance the department has taken several initiatives for implementing the state policy for older persons. He expressed the need for such workshops on giving advice to the government on various aspects of empowerment. He detailed on few schemes introduced by the government such as Old Age Homes for the poor elders, day care with recreational activities and more Helplines to address the problems of the senior citizens. He emphasized to evolve a synopsis from this workshop and to be submitted to the government so that they can introduce various innovative schemes in the field of empowerment of senior citizens. He said he will be happy to organize another workshop involving government officials and other age care institutes in a larger scale to get more clarity on the issue of economic empowerment. He requested Nightingales Medical Trust to take initiative in creating a consortium for senior citizens to centralize issues related to this sector of the society. He further added that government will surely support this initiative to empower more and more senior citizens in a comprehensive manner. Vote of Thanks (Dr Radha S Murthy, Trustee, Nightingale Empowerment Foundation) Dr Radha thanked everyone for making the workshop informative and innovative. She said that Nightingales will continue to build on this initiative of empowerment and also in setting up a consortium for senior citizens.