Tech For Cause

Navika Chhauda  
"Cloud Engineer and Microsoft Most Valuable Professional" , Configit

Navika Chhauda is a Cloud Engineer at Configit, where she specializes in cloud computing solutions and infrastructure, contributing significantly to the company's technology-driven projects. Recognized as a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional, Chhauda is celebrated for her exceptional expertise and contributions to the Microsoft technology community, exemplifying leadership in cloud technologies and a passion for sharing knowledge and innovations in the field.  

“Uplifting the Underserved”

When we talk about diversity and inclusion, is it in the letter only and not in spirit, especially regarding technical job roles for vulnerable sections of society, like visually impaired candidates? Though many efforts have been made in this sphere and direction, their complete inclusivity in our workforce seems a distant goal in the present scenario.

 

In today’s tech world, where we are using AI in all spheres of work, tech has become the new normal and integral part of all of us. It has become essential to properly equip oneself with current tech to sustain oneself in today’s world. Now, the question arises: Are we all privileged enough to invest in upskilling ourselves in technology? The answer is maybe not. Therefore, it becomes imperative for professionals who are well-trained in technology to impart and empower the community and their peers in technology and thus use technology for a good cause.

What Needs To Be Done

Technology is for all and not limited to some sections of society. Thus, it’s important to reach out to even vulnerable sections of society, especially the visually impaired, so that there is equality in learning and nobody is left behind. As there are many challenges faced by visually impaired students when it comes to learning tech and being at par with their peers, resources like JAWS software make their learning possible, which is quite expensive, and everyone cannot afford it.  

 

According to a survey conducted by NCERT (National Council of Educational Research and Training), only 29.16 percent of children with blindness received education, which was also bogged with a high dropout rate. According to the Lancet Global Health Commission on Global Eye Health, visually impaired people in India are 15 percent less likely to be employed than those without visual impairment. The new-age technologies, which demand little mobility for their operation, can help widen the visually impaired people’s job market. Jobs in the realm of new-age technologies in the corporate sector are potentially well-paying avenues for visually impaired people. However, visually impaired people need to be adequately trained in software technology. 

 

In this regard, the sensitivity and efforts of technology expert Navika Chhauda, a 23-year-old young professional, are commendable. For the last ten years, she has been empowering the community, especially vulnerable sections of society, like visually impaired students and acid attack survivors, to make them tech-savvy and self-sufficient. 

Sight and Insight

Navika Chhauda, who began engaging in social causes at 14 by teaching French to girls and women from underprivileged backgrounds as a Class IX student, has also taught visually impaired students job-relevant computer skills, including MS Office 365 tools like Word, Excel, One Drive, and PowerPoint. 

 

Cloud Engineer and Microsoft Most Valuable Professional Navika has led over 40 technical sessions on Microsoft tools and technologies such as Azure and collaborated with the Blind Relief Association to train visually impaired students in these areas. Despite the challenges of online training for the visually impaired, Navika’s patience and empathy allowed her to teach these skills effectively, opening up job market opportunities for them. 

 

The training concluded with three students volunteering to learn Cloud Computing and Azure, leading to three free vouchers from the Microsoft Learn Student Ambassadors Program Redmond team. Two of these students passed the Microsoft AZ 900 Certification, and one is currently preparing for it, with their certification exam fees covered by the Microsoft Learned Student Ambassador Programme.

Employment for Her Students

Now, Navika aims to get these visually challenged students suitably placed in companies so that they can become self-reliant in the true sense. However, the kind and ever-smiling lady lamented that the job world’s response to the differently abled is still quite unfortunate. 

 

“The job market culture is full of loud talks of inclusive growth, but it is hard to find a company who is willing to give these visually impaired candidates a fair chance,” she reveals while saying that she has been very proactive in placing her students professionally and has been running from pillar to post to give her visually challenged students an economically empowered future.







     







       







         







           







             







               







                 







                   







                     







                       







                         







                           







                             







                               







                                 

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