A disability advocate on a mission to change how the world ‘sees’ people with vision impairment

Two photos of Karan are side by side. On the left, Karan sits on stairs wearing a navy patterned shirt and holding his cane folded up. On the right, Karan stands beside a tree smiling at the camera and holding his cane in his hands.

Marketing professional, content creator and disability advocate Karan Nagrani shares how, through a career pivot, he found purposeful work with a truly inclusive and accessible employer.

A career pivot

Karan is a content creator and marketing professional who has worked for various organisations across public relations, design, and marketing communications. Karan is also an active disability advocate with thousands of followers from all over the world. He uses his marketing and design skills to raise awareness of disability, particularly for people who are blind, vision impaired, or have low vision.

Karan lives with Usher Syndrome and experiences deterioration in his vision as time goes by. Karan has around 3% vision at present. Karan’s vision reached a level where he decided to take a career pivot, moving away from corporate graphic design and copy work, toward engagement and advocacy roles.

This career change was not without its challenges. In the past, Karan preferred to hide his disability due to fear of being undermined at work. Karan also wasn’t quite sure on the next step for his career, after a long and fulfilling career in graphic design.

Karan stepped into work, in an awareness building and education role about blindness and vision impairment. He gets to challenge misconceptions and smash stereotypes about being blind and vision impaired, with his unusual take on raising awareness being very well received by the media.

“I can’t think of a better job, and I get to help people like me,” shared Karan. Karan educates the Australian population about vision impairment being a spectrum. Everyone’s experience with vision impairment is unique and different.

JobAccess provides support

JobAccess first supported Karan in a previous role in 2015, with advice on workplace adjustments and funding through the Employment Assistance Fund (EAF). The EAF provides financial assistance to employers and employees with disability to purchase or organise workplace adjustments (or reasonable adjustments).

JobAccess and the EAF help workplaces be more accessible and inclusive of people with disability. Through the EAF, JobAccess supported Karan with funding for screens and zoom text software, along with a high-contrast keyboard and mouse, to remove work-related barriers due to low vision.

Last year, JobAccess supported Karan to access JAWS software and training, to be ready for when Karan requires it. JAWS is a screen reader technology, and converts speech to text, making computers more accessible for those who are blind or have low vision.

Karan’s advice for employers

When reflecting on his career, Karan feels there are simple and effective ways that employers can embody an inclusive and accessible workplace for people who are blind or vision impaired, such as:

  • Team members introducing themselves when approaching a colleague, so that all are aware of who they are speaking with. For example, “Hi Karan, this is Julie from IT.”
  • Ensuring furniture has curved edges (not corners), so that employees are not injured when moving around the office.
  • Every door having a large black, high contrast strip, so people are aware they are approaching a door, and;
  • Accessible toilets close to the building entry, with high contrast signage so the toilets are easy to find.

All the above are simple steps businesses can take to encourage a workplace that is fit for purpose, and a workplace that is accessible and inclusive of people who are blind or have vision impairments.

“I like to remind businesses that you can hire blind people at no extra cost to your business, and that JobAccess is there to fund supports needed.”

– Karan Nagrani

“There can be fear out there, that people who are blind or vision impaired will not be able to work at a business, or that they will hurt themselves. Vision impairment is a spectrum, only 10-15% of people with vision impairments can see nothing.

I like to remind businesses that you can hire blind people at no extra cost to your business, and that JobAccess is there to fund supports needed. Most of the time, these supports are a $24 high-contrast keyboard and mouse!” Karan says.

Advocating for change

Karan advocates for the community of people who are blind and vision impaired. He also raises awareness and compassion amongst the LGBTQIA+ community for people who are blind or have low vision.

As Karan puts it, “I am raising awareness with a twist.” Karan leverages his graphic design skills and uses humour, encouraging people to challenge their own misconceptions and unconscious biases, “don’t just assume my disability is sad,” shared Karan.

Karan has also been the disability ambassador for Chillout Festival, Midsumma Festival and now Darwin Pride, where he continues to raise awareness.

“You can be blind and have an amazing career.”

– Karan Nagrani

What Karan enjoys most about his work? He gets to “show the world you can be blind and have an amazing career.” One that aligns with your goals and career aspirations, and one that lets you have true impact. He is also grateful for working in an inclusive workplace, beyond what he ever imagined possible.

Karan looks forward to continuing to smash stereotypes, sharing his experience, and advocating for people who are blind and vision impaired, whilst helping other employers become fit for purpose.

Are you looking for advice and support with workplace adjustments? Contact JobAccess

JobAccess is the go-to expert for disability employment matters. It helps removes barriers to sustainable employment for people with disability.

JobAccess has a team of allied health professionals who provide expert, confidential and tailored advice on workplace adjustments from the first point of contact.

For tailored and confidential support, reach out to JobAccess on 1800 464 800 or submit an online enquiry.

Related pages

Employment Assistance Fund

Available support for people with disability

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