Sunday, March 15, 2009

Celebrating ability

It has been fourteen years of trying to get people to keep an open mind. In 1995, Jayshree Raveendran set up the Ability Foundation to get "...persons with and without disability walk hand-in-hand, work shoulder-to-shoulder and are accepted as equal partners...". It may not have been a novel thought, but the Foundation has been single-minded in its desire to mainstream as many 'ability-challenged' people as it can. EmployABILITY, their annual job fair for differently abled candidates, has been a huge eye-opener to corporates in Chennai. Over a hundred firms have participated in the effort, generating a surge of positive feeling across the organizations.

Another 'show-case' event, if you will, is the annual 'Ability Awards', co-presented by Cavin Kare. It was humbling - and inspiring - to see the efforts of the award winners for 2009. Overcoming loss of a limb, congenital defects or cerebral palsy, the winners have stuck to their chosen vocation with fierce determination. And, more importantly, each one of them is less worried about their own future, but is working to make life brighter for others who are similarly challenged.

The four award winners are at the extreme left (2), right and centre of the picture. To see them and hear them speak was indeed an unforgettable experience!


moochhi said...

this is good coverage. yes, ability india has focussed well on the issue of disabilities. all these people are able and have their own talents.

Shantaram said...

@ Moochhi: That's right - and we must step up advocacy of their work even if we can't get actively involved!