NCPEDP-Mphasis Universal Design Awards 2022 were bestowed in a glittering ceremony organized in The Park Hotel, New Delhi on on 28 September 2022. National Center for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People (NCPEDP) instituted these awards in association with Mphasis Limited in 2010. These awards are given to individuals and organizations who have been doing exemplary work towards the cause of accessibility and thus ensuring a life of equality and dignity for people with disabilities.
Registered in 1996, NCPEDP is a non-profit voluntary organization based in New Delhi. It works as an interface between government, industry, international agencies and voluntary sector towards empowerment of persons with disabilities. Mphasis Limited is a leading information technology and consulting company in India.
These awards are given in three categories, namely:
- Category A: Persons with Disabilities
- Category B: Working Professionals
- Category C: Companies / Organizations
Apart from these three categories, the NCPEDP-Mphasis Javed Abidi Public Policy Award is also bestowed for path breaking policy work in ensuring a equal rights and opportunities for the people with disabilities.
Recipients of the NCPEDP-Mphasis Universal Design Awards 2022
Category A: (Persons with Disabilities)
1. Vidhya Y (Karnataka)
Vidhya T, being blind since birth, faced several obstacles to study subjects such as science and math due to their visual nature. Yet she excelled in them and was a gold medalist from IIIT Bangalore and had interned at Microsoft. In 2017, Vidhya founded a nonprofit organization called Vision Empower with a mission to make stem education accessible to visually-impaired students, so that no child would have to face the challenges that she did. Vidhya also co-founded Vembi Technologies to design and manufacture assistive technologies to cater to the educational needs of children with visual impairments.
2. Lalit Kumar (Delhi)
Lalit Kumar, also known as Samyak Lalit, is the chairman and managing trustee of Evara Foundation. Lalit is credited with launching the mission of establishing the disability-centric literary movement in Hindi and other Indian languages. He also established India’s biggest disability-centric YouTube channel, named Dashamlav. His autobiography Vitamin Zindagi, has been translated in many languages. Lalit developed the first free braille translator for Indian languages, including Hindi, Bangla, Gujarati, Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi, Nepali, Odia, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Tamil and Telugu. This software is an important step towards enhancing the accessibility of Indian language text material for persons with blindness and low vision.
3. Soundarya Kumar Pradhan (Odisha)
Soundarya works as the manager, finance systems operations at HSBC electronic data processing India. Soundarya has developed a website that makes chess accessible for blind chess players. He won a gold medal in the IX IBCA world team chess championship for the blind held at Ohrid, Macedonia from 28.07.2022 to 07.08.2022. He is also the winner of silver medal in b2/b3 men rapid team chess in the 3rd Asian Para Games held in Jakarta, Indonesia from 6th to 13th October 2018 and has won silver medal in the 10th IBCA world individual junior chess championship for the blind & visually impaired held in Poland from 13th to 23rd august 2018.
Category C: Working Professionals
1. Teresa Antony Alappatt (Tamil Nadu)
Teresa Antony is the lead inclusive designer at Chetana Trust, whose work is focused on creating accessible literature for children. Teresa works alongside children and adults with and without disabilities to spread awareness on the importance of accessible imagery that children’s stories should hold and mentors individuals wanting to explore, create or use accessible story books. With over 400 accessible story books today, and an online library of over 100 books, she continues to dream of creating new solutions that can be accessible to all.
2. Robin Tommy (Kerala)
Robin Tommy has been passionately working with more than 5000+ neurodivergent citizens for over 10 years, researching and creating technology for redefining rehabilitation, therapy, communication, and skill development, thereby advocating inclusion in the workspace. He is known for devising and designing technology-based experiences for neurodivergent citizens that help in improving the neuroplasticity and neurogenesis aspects. Robin is the founder of Inclusys Org Foundation which provides employment opportunities for neurodivergent individuals including those who have experienced improvement through his products.
3. Nilesh Panchal (Gujarat)
Working as a special teacher and coordinator at Navjeevan Training Center since its inception in 1993. Navjeevan Training Center is a day school where mentally and physically disabled individuals and children with autism and cerebral palsy are given education, training and rehabilitation services. As a program convener for the last twenty years for the society for the welfare of the mentally retarded and vice president of the Gujarat Spastic Society, he has helped organize several competitions and tournaments for special educators, children with disabilities and their parents.
Special Jury Recognition under Category B
1. Joe John George (Kerala)
Joe John George is a development professional who has been working in the field of disaster risk reduction and climate action for over 15 years. He has worked with the government of Kerala as well as UN organizations and NGOs including UNICEF, UNDP and world vision in different parts of the country. While working with Kerala State Disaster Management Authority (KSDMA), he authored the handbook on disability & disaster risk reduction and developed a toolkit for the training. This helped in conducting training for persons with disabilities in the state of Kerala on disaster survival skills and first aid during emergencies. He also facilitated the preparation of training materials in braille, sign language and daisy player formats with the support of institutions like NISH & IUCDS.
2. Diana Vincent (Kerala)
Diana Vincent has 20 years of experience in the development sector, working on various child rights issues. Over the past 20 years, she has represented her work at international organizations like UNESCO, UNODC etc. Fourth Wave Foundation’s project on inclusive education, with Diana at the helm, is a pioneer of the educational design model espousing the RPWD Act and UNCRC’s importance of education for all. The project named nanagu shaale; school where all belong, works toward including children with disabilities (CWD) in government schools without discrimination, working exclusively in remote and deprived regions of Karnataka. This intervention led to an increase in the enrollment trajectory from 1% to 21% of CWDs in the Karnataka government schools.
Category C: Companies / Organizations
1. Kerala School for the Blind (Kerala)
Established in 1955, Kerala School for the Blind (KSB), Mankada Pallippuram is one of the first-aided special schools in Kerala for visually impaired students. It aims to create an inclusive learning environment for children with visual impairment. Major three projects implemented: ‘Ullas Pedagogy Park’ which focuses on including geometry, trigonometry concepts and maps and social theories which make learning easy for visually impaired students; ‘touch and smell garden’ allows them to understand real concepts and ideas through engagement with different types of plants (medicinal, spices, nuts, etc) pantries and ecosystems, ponds, and construct small waterfalls.; and ‘adapted science lab’ in order to teach scientific concepts to children with visual impairment.
2. Accenture Solutions Private Limited (Karnataka)
Focusing both on accessibility & development, Accenture has made remarkable progress over engage–empower-enhance, under the guidance of Accenture India PWD sponsor and accessibility council. Diversity is fundamental to the way Accenture does business. The council ensures seamless integration of persons with disabilities into the mainstream work environment by setting direction, reviewing progress, providing leadership sponsorship & governance, deployed through 3 key accessibility pillars (physical, technology, and attitudinal) & a per-approved central ‘accessibility fund’ for transportation/workplace adjustment/assistive technology. For employees, Accenture introduced the accessibility center, and disability accommodation support tool.
3. Neomotion Assistive Solutions (Chennai)
How often do we see a wheelchair user at a school, college, office, shop or park? Neomotion aims to transform this. Its products are Neofly and Neobolt. Neofly is a personalized wheelchair that offers a great posture reducing back & shoulder pain, is extremely smooth to propel reducing fatigue, is compact making places accessible. Neobolt is an add-on that converts Neofly into a safe road-worthy vehicle, enabling wheelchair users to go out independently for education, work, recreation or simply to explore the world. Neomotion users are living life to the fullest.
4. The Department of Social Welfare, Women and Child Development, Chandigarh Administration (Chandigarh)
The department of social welfare, women and child development, Chandigarh administration is a nodal department for the implementation of RPWD Act, 2016 in U.T. of Chandigarh in letter & spirit along with the implementation of various social security and welfare schemes for persons with disabilities. Employee of this department works sensitively and gives their bit to ease the lives of people with disabilities emphasizing equality, accessibility and opportunity for them through various schemes like the accessible India campaign, special covid-19 vaccination drive, sensitization programs, etc. The department reaches out to persons with disabilities in Chandigarh by organizing empowerment cum facilitation camps regularly.
5. Indian Spinal Injuries Centre (Delhi) – Special Jury Award
Major Hari Pal Singh Ahluwalia, with the support of his friends, set up the Indian Spinal Injuries Centre (ISIC) in Vasant Kunj, New Delhi, India in 1993. With healing through hope & joy as the primary vision, they strive to create an inclusive environment and ensure a self-reliant lifestyle for wheelchair users.
ISIC has a team of dedicated, internationally trained & acclaimed spine surgeons providing cutting-edge medical & surgical technology. The rehabilitation department is considered to be a vital core element of the hospital with one of the largest teams of therapists, trained in some of the best institutes in India and abroad. It offers complete facilities of physiotherapy and occupational therapy which provides guidance for patients to lead a productive, self-reliant life.
Javed Abidi Public Policy Award
Merry Barua (Delhi)
Merry Barua is an activist, educator, trainer and writer who pioneered the autism movement in India. Her organization Action for Autism (AFA) provides services spanning early identification, education, work and employment, and assisted living as models for replication, where accessibility for autistic people is at the core. AFA focuses on training young professionals and parents in developing an understanding of autism and creating enabling environments, which has had a ripple effect on more organizations and institutions adapting these practices. In 2015, International Society for Autism Research (INSAR) recognized Merry’s efforts with the prestigious ‘advocate award’.
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