CALL CENTER operated by blind people and units installed in public places to inform on disabilities.

CALL CENTER operated by blind people and units installed in public places to inform on disabilities.

Colombia
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Budget: 
$10,000 - $50,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

By creating this CALL CENTER, PUNTO VISION will give decent and stable employment to blind or low-vision people.
Besides being able to communicate through this call center from their homes, people with any type of disability will find units with telephones in governmental buildings or public hospitals in order to obtain information on specialized services, book appointments in hospital’s public networks, use rehabilitation services, technical support, employment orientation and rights vindication.
These units will have advertisement spots as another source of income.
An association between COOTRASIN and PUNTO VISION will be created for its operation and commercialization.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Beneficiaries employed to operate the CALL CENTER are blind people or people with low vision who have not had the chance to find a job, with low socio-economical levels (in Colombia, they are located in strata 1, 2 or 3, according to the country’s classification), most of them with a limited academic level, without excluding those who had the chance to have access to higher education. As a start, around 40 people will be employed. Information receptors are people will all kinds of disabilities from low socio-economical levels and with unsatisfied needs, being approximately 10% of Colombians, suffering from any type of disability. According to statistics, this population reflects a demographic distribution compared with the rest of the Colombian population in general, in terms of gender and age, with the number of women slightly greater than that of men. However, in relation to topics such as unemployment, handicapped people do not reach the level of employability the rest of the population has, being not even 5% of people within the age of productivity the ones that are formally employed.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

1. There are companies, such as ECCOS and Colombia Contact, that have hired visually impaired people but without making them comprehensively develop the activities of an operator, because platforms on which their services are based are not compatible with screen readers (software that allows blind people to operate a computer through electronically synthesized voice). We have the professional and technical capacity to implement the platform from its origin, and it is compatible with such software. 2. As we channel information related to rehabilitation services, technical support, appointments booking in hospital’s public networks for impaired patients, employment orientation and rights vindication counseling, and other typical needs of this group of people, we will therefore cover an existent need and allow them to know about these aspects. 3. We will offer stable employment with all labor guarantees and social work and psychological assistance, together with an interdisciplinary team that assures an efficient labor inclusion for blind people. 4. It will be secured that the operators have full knowledge of all related issues. 5. Commercialization of the units’ advertisement spots installed in strategic places is another innovative aspect.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

1. To set up an association between Corporation PUNTO VISION and the Labor and Services Cooperative for Blind people, COOTRASIN, in order to operate and commercialize the CALL CENTER. 2. COOTRASIN has the adequate facilities in order to install the infrastructure (computers, cables, connections and enough room) and for the associates that will benefit from it (visually impaired people). 3. PUNTO VISION has experience in this type of initiatives (SAKI). 4. The project has the contacts that are needed for the implementation, such as international cooperation organizations, State entities and private companies. 5. Services will be offered to governmental entities, organizations and entities related to disabilities, in order to channel the related information for the benefit of the impaired population of Colombia and other countries. 6. The unit’s advertisement spots will be offered to private companies and governmental institutions, with a social responsibility approach, so that they show their messages that will be seen by the public in general. 7. Call Center’s platform is being developed from its origin, and it is totally compatible with screen reading software, such as JAWS. The purpose of this is to allow visually impaired operators to be absolutely competitive in their work.
About You
Organization:
CORPORACIÓN PUNTO VISIÓN
About You
First Name

JAIME MAURICIO

Last Name

GAITÁN GÓMEZ

Twitter

@cpuntovision / @JaimeMGaitan

Facebook Profile
About Your Organization
Organization Name

CORPORACIÓN PUNTO VISIÓN

Organization Country
Country where this project is creating social impact
How long has your organization been operating?

More than 5 years

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Innovation
What stage is your project in?

Operating for less than a year

Share the story of the founder and what inspired the founder to start this project

The project creator, JAIME GAITAN (Colombian Ashoka Fellow since the year 2000), has entered into agreements with Colombia’s National Federation of Traders (In Spanish, FENALCO). That was the first action in which he committed social agents with power of decision from sectors outside the disability area, teaching officers of those organizations the way to help visually impaired people when they visit shopping centers.
As a result of that campaign, in which shared responsibility parameters were established, the lack of accessible information systems was spotted, which prevented visually impaired people from doing a secure and independent use of those places. Therefore, he created an Interactive Kiosks Accessible System (In Spanish, SAKI), offering them information related to shopping centers and to any highly crowded place in general, which vindicates the right to social, labor, cultural and every aspect’s inclusion.
Giving the fact that the contact center market is at a stage of full growth and being an activity that can be developed by visually impaired people, the idea of the call center came into play and merged with the idea of the SAKI, which generated this project.

Social Impact
Please describe how your project has been successful and how that success is measured

1. On the development of the Interactive Kiosks Accessible System, SAKI, a screen reading software could be tested so that the information offered through the units to visually impaired visitors in shopping centers was adequate and able to be updated in real time, thanks to the fact that units were interconnected on line. This became a huge competitive upside.
2. From the advertising point of view, SAKI was really attractive even though it could not be adequately commercialized as a result of the lack of business culture in relation to the acceptance of this type of projects that benefit impaired people. They are seen as beneficence receptors and not as a business opportunity, being that approach precisely the one which is implied in SAKI’s business model.
3. Thanks to the call center’s new component, with which we will give employment in the medium term to at least 60 visually impaired people or their relatives, we are offering an attractive element to international cooperation organizations such as foundation “Fundación Panamericana para el Desarrollo” (USAID’s interests representative in Colombia), securing a greater direct impact.

How many people have been impacted by your project?

How many people could be impacted by your project in the next three years?

More than 10,000

How will your project evolve over the next three years?

1. Stable employment will be created for nearly 100 visually impaired people.
2. By offering a network of units installed in strategic places through which people with any kind of disability or who are interested in the issue can access the call center, where they will be given information that facilitates rights vindication, we will be therefore covering a shortage which did not allow impaired people in Colombia and other countries to obtain benefits to which they are entitled. The call center will be accessed also by telephone from the homes of those who are interested to have access.

Sustainability
What barriers might hinder the success of your project and how do you plan to overcome them?

Barriers:
1. Deficiency of business culture to be involved in these initiatives either as customers, investors or donors.
2. Lack of cohesion in the disabilities sector and absence of government entities approaching the issue in a centralized way.
3. Lack of knowledge related to existing technology that we are able to develop in terms of screen reading software which allows visually impaired people to competitively perform as call centers operators.
4. As a consequence of the permanent changes of governmental authorities (political), contractual changes might appear: generally, in order to implement initiatives that affect an important part of society, according to current interests of the new authorities, hiring and the game rules could be changed if they are not previously established with a guarantee of permanence.
Solutions:
1. By establishing partnerships or agreements with governmental entities, we will install units with telephones and initiate call center’s operations in order to show the system’s efficiency in the real world.
2. We will be the ones who channel the information of the institutional offer that benefits handicapped population.
3. Unit and counselor’s presence will be widely spread and that way society will become familiar with technology that allows access to information for handicapped people.
4. We will boost legislation on centralization and spreading of information that benefits handicapped people, guaranteeing long-termed hiring periods and promoting the use of supplementary alternative means to these systems by sponsors or advertisement announcers.

Tell us about your partnerships

1. On international cooperation, we will obtain USAID resources, through foundation “Fundación Panamericana para el Desarrollo” (FUPAD).
2. National Institute for Blind people, INCI, governmental entity that advices and orientates actions for the benefit of visually impaired people, will give on bailment between 14 and 20 computers.
3. The Labor and Services Cooperative for Blind people, COOTRASIN, will provide the facilities to implement the CALL CENTER and we will find some of the operators among its associates.
4. Learning National Service, SENA, governmental entity that provides free technical training to low-income people, within the framework of the AGORA project, will train operators and will provide on bailment JAWS screen reading software needed.
5. The AGORA project trains visually impaired people for work and creates work spots in private companies, with resources of the “Comunidad Madrilena” and the ONCE foundation in Latin America, FOAL. Operative organizations are: SENA and INCI, while the Rehabilitation Center for the Blind Adult, CRAC, is the one in charge of managing such resources.
6. CRAC showed its will to support this initiative, since the reason for COOTRASIN’s creation 25 years ago was to become a viable possibility to offer work options to blind or visually impaired people.
7. Despite the fact that we intend the government to become the main customer of the call center’s services (with the purpose of providing centralized information related to all the institutional offer that benefits handicapped population) and in order to avoid that the operator’s only work alternative be the unstable telemarketing activity, we have made a partnership with the company that distributes massive consumer services and products, THURA.

Explain your selections

In order to initiate call center’s operation, resources from the following sources are being negotiated:
1. From USAID, through FUPAD, we will obtain nearly 60,000 US dollars.
2. Through SENA, nearly 35,000 dollars will be obtained, destined to JAWS software required (one for each operator), operator’s training, counseling and assistance for the productive unit’s constitution and strengthening, within the AGORA project’s framework which is financed by Comunidad Madrilena and FOAL.
3. From INCI, around 8,000 dollars for computers provided on bailment.
4. From COOTRASIN, nearly 6,000 dollars on six months of facilities’ use for the call center’s implementation. Only the first six months are quoted because the call center’s operation will provide income that will cover the budget in the future.
5. Nearly 6,000 dollars for the first six months, related to professional services for the development of software that makes the call center’s platform compatible with screen reading software (JAWS) and which implies management for its implementation, LORENA ANDRAUS and JAIME MAURICIO GAITAN.

How do you plan to strengthen your project in the next three years?

Income will be obtained from the sales of the call center’s services, being the main goal in this matter that the State, with its national and district (Bogota) entities and other municipal and county levels, become our main customer in order to offer information and orientation on all institutional services of governmental and private sectors that will benefit handicapped population in Colombia. This will be intended to mirror the model in other countries, without leaving out the possibility of offering call center’s general services to other customers requiring it, such as massive consumer products and services telemarketing, appointments booking, phone investigations, debt collection and others.
Another source of income is the rental of advertisement spots included in the units (which will have telephones for the users with or without disabilities to contact the call center), which will be offered to all kinds of sponsors (companies or State institutions) that require to promote services or products within the social responsibility framework, with actions related to the wellbeing of handicapped people.

Challenges
Which barriers to employment does your innovation address?
Please select up to three in order of relevancy to your project.

PRIMARY

Restricted access to new markets

SECONDARY

Need for regulatory/policy support

TERTIARY

Restrictive cultural norms

Please describe how your innovation specifically tackles the barriers listed above.

Lack of access to new markets will be approached through efficient public relations with governmental authorities that work on disabilities issues.
Currently, there are no specific laws that guarantee the centralization of this type of information that we are trying to offer, but there are changes coming in this matter.
With respect to the lack of culture to make society trust in handicapped people’s abilities for the job, a change of paradigm is expected to happen as a result of the massive presence of units and our services’ offer.

Are you trying to scale your organization or initiative?
If yes, please check up to three potential pathways in order of relevancy to you.

PRIMARY

Enhanced existing impact through addition of complementary services

SECONDARY

Leveraged technology

TERTIARY

Please describe which of your growth activities are current or planned for the immediate future.

We wish to improve the current impact by the addition of supplementary services, because the service we will offer is not provided comprehensively and is not yet cohesive and unified.
Likewise, our initiative implies full usage of technology and its adequacy, for which we are capable of.
Finally, we will make our comprehensive offer of institutional services expand geographically, for the benefit of handicapped people.

Do you collaborate with any of the following: (Check all that apply)

Government, Technology providers, NGOs/Nonprofits, For profit companies.

If yes, how have these collaborations helped your innovation to succeed?

Although we still cannot talk about the support we will give to the government, it is undeniable that our initiative will fill a gap in the matter of information centralization and orientation for handicapped people, who lack these services that are destined to their rights’ vindication.
In any case, only by starting negotiations in advance, the non-profit organization, COOTRASIN, has been able to define a path through which its associates and its immediate-future plans found a clear purpose.

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