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Achievers with disabilities celebrated with 2019 CavinKare Ability Awards

March 2, 2019

Outstanding achieves in the field of disability were honored at the 17th CavinKare Ability Award held in Chennai this week. The award celebrates and recognizes people who have overcome their disabilities and are working to empower others.

It was a moving and inspiring occasion as achievers recounted their struggles, experiences and learnings while overcoming their circumstances. In the last 17 years, the Cavinkare Ability Awards have recognized over 65 people for their enormous contributions towards breaking stereotypes and challenging the mindset of society towards disability.

"This award over the years has become a landmark for grit, courage and desire to achieve great heights by overcoming barriers steadily", said CK Ranganathan, Chairman-Managing Director, CavinKare. "We are happy to be celebrating the positive spirit of these achievers and hope to inspire many through them."

The people honoured this year are from across the disability spectrum.

  • Bhargavi V Davar - Founder of the Bapu Trust for Research on Mind and Discourse, is a well-known figure in the space of mental health policy and advocacy.
  • Danish Mahajan - This young man from Pathankot district in Punjab overcame the trauma of going blind as a teenager and went on to launch Radio Udaan, the online radio service managed by people with visual impairments.
  • Venkatachalam M - This well-known para athlete from Tamil Nadu was left severely disabled in a road accident and went on to win many several gold and silver medals at an international event last year. He is also a well-known voice in the space of disability rights.
  • Major D P Singh - India's first blade runner uses marathons to encourage and motivate people with disabilities. What a comeback after the severe injuries he sustained in the Kargil War, injuries that left him an amputee, besides partial hearing impairment.
  • Akshay Bhatnagar - Perhaps the first and only graduate with autism from Rajasthan until now, Bhatnagar is a fighter through and through. He overcame challenges like speech impairment and epileptic attacks, as well as stiff resistance from authorities in school and college while pursuing his education goals. He cleared the competitive exam for the post of Lower Division Clerk of Rajasthan High Court and is well employed today.

Recalling the launch of the awards 17 years ago, Jayshree Raveendran, Founder-Honorary-Executive Director, Ability Foundation said that over the years, the nature and scale of the achievements witnessed have been awe inspiring.

"Way back in 2003, when we brought out the first edition of the Awards, I remember saying that there are more role models among persons with disabilities than anywhere else. Today, 17 years hence, I reaffirm and reiterate this statement. The kind of things we witness year after year, with each one of our recipients, has been nothing short of breath-taking and awe inspiring".

Mahajan, who is among the winners, says the honour is special for many reasons.

"The jury really screens the people who have been nominated closely. They come to your home and meet you and its quite a thorough process. Getting an award like this is highly motivating for youngsters because there is someone recognising your efforts. This award brings along with it many responsibilities and has made me determined to keep looking at ways to contribute meaningfully". Truly a well deserved honour for these fighters, who are working everyday to show the world the ability in disability.

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