Three Bengalureans and two organisations from the city have been selected this year for the Helen Keller awards, given by the National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People (NCPEDP) and Mindtree.
The awards, instated in 1999 to encourage the creation of employment for persons with disabilities (PwD), will be presented on December 2, in Delhi, on the eve of World Disability Day. A total of 10 awards are given - six to individuals and four to role-model organisations.
In the Role Model-Disabled Person category, Pradip Sinha, an executive in Dell-EMC in Bengaluru is one of the individuals awarded. In spite of being hearing and visually impaired, Pradip works independently without an interpreter. He also teaches deaf-blind children at Helen Keller Institute for the Deaf Blind (HKIDB).
Dr Nirmita Narasimhan, the founding member of Centre for Internet and Society in Bengaluru, has also been awarded in this category. Nirmita is partially visually disabled and has worked with disability organisations, governments and UN bodies advocating for digital accessibility, promoting universal design and open source assistive technology.
In the role model, non-disabled person category, Swaminathan Subramanian, a manager at ANZ Bengaluru Service Centre has won. He has been working for inclusion of PwD and his efforts have resulted in the hiring of 220 persons with disabilities in the company.
City-based coffee chain Hatti Kaapi has been awarded as a role model organisation for providing employment to PwD, senior citizens, and people from rural areas. It has partnered with various NGOs to look for people with disabilities such as autism, physical disability, and visual disability. Inspired by the award, the company has decided to dedicate one of their outlets to be run and managed exclusively by disabled employees from December 2.
Vindhya E-Infomedia Private Limited, BPO in the city which has a large proportion of PwD in their staff has also been awarded. In their Bengaluru centre, about 58% of employees are disabled while the Hyderabad centre has only PwD as staff.