An analysis of disclosures by listed companies reveals that the share of Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) is a negligible 0.46 per cent of their employee base. What’s more, PwD representation in these companies has dropped — it was 0.47 per cent last year.
Today is the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. Over the years, the Indian Government has created several policies to support differently-abled people. Unfortunately, families and institutions remain in the dark about these policies, which deprives disabled people from enjoying various benefits.
On the United Nations’ International Day of Persons with Disabilities, The CSR Journal takes stock of whether CSR is empowering PwDs and enhancing their lives.
Spark Minda, Ashok Minda Group
To ensure sustainability to the lives of Persons with Disability through ensuring their mobility, Spark Minda, Ashok Minda Group has developed a Program called “Saksham”. It is supplementing to Accessible India Campaign (Sugamya Bharat Abhiyan), Ministry of Persons with Disabilities.
This framework is basically designed for differently abled people to create an inclusive workplace, where their skill and talent are valued and respected. Countrywide in different manufacturing locations 149 Person with disability are employed by the Group.
The Group engages PWD’s with an affirmation of its commitment to sustainable business practice. The various functions where PWD’s are employed are Assembly, Production, Paintshop, Administration, Wire joint taping, Store Department, Inspection etc. Frequent job rotation is also carried out to provide ease to them while working.
Under Saksham, Spark Minda Foundation organises regular Empowerment Camps for PwD’s in cities like Pune and Noida in association with local NGOs. The camps provide end-to-end support in Limb fitment, Caliper fitment, Walkers, Elbow Crutches, Tricycle, wheelchair and other assistive aids to persons with a disability.
Through Saksham, the Group aims to provide accessible and assistive technologies, impart skill training through OJT (On the job training), create inclusive workplace and ergonomics, train them for 5s and life skills, employ PWD’s in keeping with the objectives of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities.
Tech Mahindra Foundation works with children and youth with disabilities in the areas of education and skill development. Activities under the disability programme focus on the dignity and independence of persons with disabilities.
ARISE+, or All Round Improvement in School Education, is a special programme which encompasses the Foundation’s work in the area of school education for Children with Disabilities. In 2018-19, ARISE+ programme reached and benefitted, approximately, 2500 students by providing chronic therapy as well as special education, to help them lead fulfilling lives. Working with diverse groups within the domain, the Tech Mahindra Foundation empowers Children with Disabilities, including sight impairment, hearing/ speech impairment, loco-motor disabilities, and a range of intellectual impairments across India.
The SMART+ programme was launched in 2013 to include Persons with Disabilities. A specially designed curriculum plus well-equipped classrooms enable effective communication in classrooms so as to enable Persons with Disabilities to learn. In the year 2018-19 SMART+ trained close to 1,477 (approximately) Persons with disabilities. The Foundation runs 11 SMART + centres at 8 locations – Benguluru, Bhubaneswar, Chandigarh, Chennai, Delhi, Kolkata, Hyderabad and Mumbai.
Mindtree, a Larsen & Toubro Group company, has partnered with the National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People (NCPEDP) to create equal opportunities and an enabling work environment for people with disabilities. Every year, they identify 10, differently-abled people who are outstanding performers across India and felicitate them with the NCPEDP Mindtree Helen Keller award.
“The inclusivity of differently-abled people is a crucial part of Mindtree’s charter, and the Mindtree Foundation is doing extensive work in developing technologies to assist them. In fact, when Mindtree was created 20 years ago, our first logo was designed by 17-year old Chetan, who has autism. Today, we work with over 45 differently-abled colleagues, with amenities provided to them so they thrive in their roles and feel they are a big part of the organization,” said Debashis Chatterjee, CEO & MD, Mindtree.
As a tech company, Mindtree is trying to make the daily lives of PwD’s easier via assisted technologies. Towards this, they have delivered two assistive technology products to Aravind Eye Hospitals in Madurai, Tamil Nadu:
1. Visual Intervention Kit with Analytics for Special children (VIKAS): VIKAS is an assorted collection of nine major exercises in 21 sub-exercises with 22 screens to redress cognitive visual dysfunction (CVD). CVD is vision impairment occurring due to damage to the brain where the eyes are able to see, but the brain is not able to process / interpret what is being seen. CVD can be due to prematurity, structural / functional damage to the brain, autism, cerebral palsy, etc. It can affect all aspects of educational, physical, social and emotional development.
2. Digital Nethra for Eye (DIGNI): This is an Android mobile application that reads the page of a printed book from a table-lamp-like structure, converts in to audio and speaks it out through a headphone. This application performs optical character recognition (OCR) of text and converts text to voice. It reads the contents of the entire page (except the pictures). After a page is read, it prompts the user to turn the page.