On eve of World Disability Day, awards laud work for the specially abled

On Tuesday, the eve of World Disability Day, the National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People (NCEPDP) commended the work of individuals and organisations to enhance employment and empowerment of people with disabilities.

The 10th edition of the NCEPDP – Shell Helen Keller Award was given away on Tuesday to 12 recipients in categories such as the best employers, role models and their activities which have helped in furthering the employability of the disabled.

“The understanding of accessibility for the disabled is extremely poor in our country,” said a wheelchair-bound Shivani Gupta from Delhi, who received the award for her organisation, AccessAbility. The company provides consultancy services to builders and architects to make buildings accessible to specially-abled people, and has also opened an online national job portal where corporate employers can recruit qualified disabled people.

“We are encouraging people to register themselves for the portal and have 65 employers advertising online at present,” says Gupta. Another initiative she has undertaken is the “inclusive travel guide” that provides information on tourist spots and facilities for the disabled in Delhi.

Amutha Shanthy S from Madurai, the managing trustee of the Thiyagam Women’s Trust, won an award in the disabled category for her work on empowering disabled rural women. The Thiyagam self-help group encourages self-employment, and a tailoring unit has been set up in this regard to provide training and livelihood to rural women.

Among disabled-friendly organisations, an award went to Radhike Khanna of the SPJ Sadhana School, and Shilpi Kapoor, both from Mumbai. Kapoor, the founder of Barrierbreak Technologies, has worked in the IT sector to design technology accessible to the disabled. She said, “We don’t use the term ‘disability’ in our programme, since we help them identify their potential abilities and work with their disabilities.”