Employment of persons with intellectual disabilities need of the hour
Visit Gram Bharat in R.K. Puram, New Delhi, and you are greeted by a cheerful young lady. Working as Store Assistant since 2013, Devanshi has created a special place in the hearts of her customers - her ‘fans’, who visit the store to meet her.
Devanshi has overcome challenges posed by Down Syndrome, a genetic condition that leads to delayed physical growth and intellectual disability.
Devanshi is a dream employee, responsible, reliable and respectful to customers and suppliers. Reflecting dignity of labour while helping her juniors learn new skills, and an eager learner herself, she remembers not just the product codes and prices but also the stock levels and reordering schedules. As winner of the NCPEDP-Mindtree Hellen Keller Award, Devanshi embodies the values of the award.
Javed Abidi, Honorary Director of NCPEDP, “ The awards are given to exceptional individuals and organisations who have established themselves as role models in furthering employment opportunities for persons with disabilities. Devanshi’s success is important because India has not yet understood disability fully. For Indians disability has always meant only blind and wheelchair users. What about muscular dystrophy, leprosy, sickle cell anaemia, cerebral palsy, downs syndrome and dwarfism? When will India discover the neglected disabilties?”
Krishna Kumar Natarajan of Mindtree presided over the function. He said, "Mindtree is proud to support NCPEDP - given that all its work and its campaigns are aimed at creating an inclusive society for people with disabilities". He further added, "Cannot emphasise the importance of making websites accessible to make the digital ecosystem inclusive for persons with disabilities"
Also present were Saurabh Chandra, Jury Member & Trustee, NCPEDP, Krishnakumar Natarajan, Chairperson Mindtree Ltd & Suresh Jandial, ONGC.
This year, the NCPEDP- Mindtree Helen Keller Awards were given away in the following categories-
CATEGORY A: ROLE MODEL DISABLED PERSONS
Disabled persons from within the disability sector and outside who have been active as ambassadors of the cause of employment for disabled people and are a positive role model for others.
1. Dr. Charudatta Jadhav - Head Accessibility COE, Tata Consultancy Services Limited
2. Devanshi Joshi - Store Assistant, Gram Bharat
3. Dr. Nirmita Narasimhan - Policy Director, Centre for Internet and Society
4. Pradip Sinha – Executive, Issue Retrieval Centre in IT Asset Management, Dell – EMC
CATEGORY B: ROLE MODEL SUPPORTERS OF INCREASED EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES FOR DISABLED PEOPLE
Individuals from within the disability sector or outside who have contributed substantially to the cause of promoting employment opportunities for disabled people over an extended period of time.
1. SV Krishnan - CEO, Dialogue in the Dark - ACE Take 1
2. Swaminathan Subramanian - Manager, Payments and Operations, ANZ Bengaluru Service Centre
CATEGORY C: ROLE MODEL COMPANIES/NGOs/INSTITUTIONS
Organisations from the disability sector or outside who have shown their commitment towards promoting equal employment opportunities for people with disabilities.
1. BarrierBreak Solutions Private Limited
2. Hatti Food and Beverages Private Limited
3. The Lemon Tree Hotel Company
4. Vindhya e Infomedia Private Limited