Research was conducted by CPL Aromas and the Blind Persons Association (Mumbai) during 2011 that clearly showed significantly heightened levels of odour perception in the visually impaired.
The research was published in the industry journal Perfumer & Flavorist in February 2012. Based on these findings the Department of Cosmetics and Perfumery, V.G. Vaze College in Mumbai agreed to design a course for the visually impaired that would give them the basic skills and training to work in the fragrance industry.
Ten candidates were enrolled into the four month course which provided a rudimentary knowledge of fragrance identification and odour evaluation with a basic grounding in raw materials commonly used in the Fragrance industry. Training was also provided on the computer programme “Jaws “often used by the visually impaired in the work place.
Having successfully completed the Perfumery course at V.G. Vaze College five of the students have been able to find full time employment in the Fragrance industry in India directly as a result of this research and subsequent training course.
S.H. Kelkar & Co, CPL Aromas and Aero Pharma have all employed visually impaired students as evaluators whilst Anthea Aromatics have recruited one of the students in the Quality Control department.
Meanwhile a second four month course is currently underway at V.G. Vaze College in Mumbai with a new batch of students enrolled and seeking opportunities in the Fragrance industry.
This initiative has provided tangible results and demonstrates the exceptional abilities of the visually impaired when it comes to identifying and distinguishing complex odours. The students now employed in the Indian Fragrance industry had found it extremely difficult to find skilled work whereas now they have the opportunity to become experts in a very technical and potentially rewarding industry.
We hope that this initiative will act as a catalyst for other Fragrance Houses throughout the world to consider training and employing the visually challenged.