WARREN, NJ and BANGALORE, India, Dec. 29, 2018 : The 19th NCPEDP-Mindtree Helen Keller Awards of 2018 took place at the India International Centre Auditorium. The Awards were given away to twelve exceptional individuals and organizations who are role models in furthering employment opportunities for persons with disabilities. In their nineteenth year now, the Awards have, over the years, emerged as a credible way to map the progress being made year by year towards greater dignity and empowerment of India’s 70 million disabled citizens.
This year, twelve awards have been announced under three different categories. Speaking at the occasion, Arman Ali, Executive Director, NCPEDP, said, “It is so heartening to see the kind of applications we have received this year. Typically most applications received are from the IT industry and this year it was refreshing to see that most applications received were from organisations and people working in the retail sector. We do look forward to seeing this work percolate to smaller towns and even villages.”
Congratulating the Awardees, the Chief Guest on this occasion, Dr. Satya Pal Singh, Minister of State for Human Resource Development,said, “It is so heartening to be here today and learn about the amazing work being done for and by people with disabilities. All that is required is some support and equal opportunities. In my capacity as Minister for Higher Education, I commit all my support to ensure accessibility, in all respects across all our institutes of higher education, so that more and more people with disabilities will break the glass ceiling as employees, employers and entrepreneurs.”
Giving an acceptance speech on behalf of all Awardees, Shishir Rambhau Gorle, Founder, SquareMeal Foods Pvt Limited reiterated that “disability is rarely the challenge – people are disabled due to a hostile environment around them and that is the change we hope to bring about.”
Speaking on this occasion, N. S. Parthasarthy, Executive Vice Chairman and COO, Mindtree Limited, said, “The visibility brought about by these awards is very encouraging and more importantly, this is the result of more organizations changing their attitudes and perceptions on having people with disabilities as part of their workforce – though more needs to be done. We congratulate all the Awardees and also NCPEDP for this very unique initiative to promote equal opportunities for people with disabilities.”
HELEN KELLER AWARDS
The story of the Helen Keller Awards started way back in 1999 as a result of the findings of a survey conducted of the Top 100 Companies of India by the National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People (NCPEDP). The results showed that the average percentage of employment of people with disabilities was as follows:
• 0.54 % in the public sector
• 0.28 % in the private sector
• 0.05 % in multinationals
Thus, the objective of the Helen Keller Awards was to start a discourse on equal opportunities for persons with disabilities in the area of employment and to recognize exceptional work done by corporates and individuals towards promoting employment opportunities for people with disabilities in India. Over the years, these Awards have come to be recognised as the most prestigious Indian benchmark for honouring people and organisations which have been working towards promoting employment opportunities for people with disabilities.
For the past three years, NCPEDP has been partnering with Mindtree for the Helen Keller Awards, a leading digital transformation and technology services company and a role model in the area of employment for persons with disabilities, to give away the NCPEDP-Mindtree Helen Keller Awards.
About NCPEDP : Registered in 1996, the National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People (NCPEDP) is the country’s premier cross disability, not-for-profit organisation working as an interface between Government, Industry, International Agencies and the Voluntary Sector towards empowerment of persons with disabilities. Its mandate is simple – to encourage employment of disabled people, increase public awareness on the issue of disability, empower disabled people with knowledge, information and opportunities and ensure easy and convenient access to all public places. NCPEDP works on six core principles, also called the six pillars of the organization, namely: 1) Education; 2) Employment; 3) Accessibility; 4) Legislation/Policy; 5) Awareness/Communication; and 6) Youth.