Jointly instituted by CavinKare (P) Ltd & Ability Foundation

CavinKare Pvt. Ltd. and Ability Foundation together organised the 15th CavinKare Ability Awards, 2017 at Sri Mutha Venkatasubba Rao Auditorium, Chetpet, Chennai  . These prestigious, one-of-a-kind awards recognize and celebrate the achievements and triumphs of persons with disabilities. Today, 5 remarkable achievers from across the county were applauded in a grand event amidst the gracious presence of several eminent personalities, celebrities and successful social entrepreneurs.

The programme was a scintillating mix of inclusive music and dance . Members of the Chandigarh-based inclusive dance troupe Rising Star Disable Youth Club presented an energetic bhangra. Fusions of Latin-American dances were presented by Bangalore duo Briju Mohan and Rachana Thimaiah. The inclusive band from Mumbai, Pehli Baarish, led by musician and social activist Ritika Sahni entertained the audience with soulful music. The song Garv Se JIyenge Hum (We will live with dignity) by Shankar Mahadevan Music Academy was presented with sign language and subtitles.

CavinKare Ability Awards are jointly conceived and conducted by CavinKare Pvt. Ltd. (a leading FMCG corporate) and Ability Foundation (a national NGO for the empowerment of persons with disabilities). The awards aim to change mindsets of the public towards persons with disabilities and applaud exceptional achievers from across the country – individuals who have triumphed over colossal barriers in pursuit of their dreams.

 The awards fall into two categories: Eminence & Mastery.

The Eminence Award,is given just to one person with disability from anywhere in the country. The Award salutes the achievements of a person with disability, who has not only overcome great odds but has also initiated his/her own organisation to contribute to society.  This award carries a citation, a trophy and a cash prize of Rs. 2 lakh. The Mastery Awards is presented to three individuals with disability in recognition of their extraordinary achievement in any field of their choice. The recipients of this award, each receives a citation, a trophy and a cash prize of Rs. 1 lakh.

The nomination process starts as early as four months prior to the event through announcements in all national media and through sister organisations.  The nominations thus received are meticulously screened and shortlisted, based on their difficulty levels, triumph over adversity and uniqueness of the task accomplished.

A panel of jury who include nationally acclaimed persons from all walks of lives scrutinize the films of the shortlisted nominees and regional representative’s reports and then select the recipients.

CavinKare Ability Special Recognition Award

These apart, there is also one other award ,the CavinKare Ability Special Recognition Award , which is given to a person with disability who is an acknowledged leader in the disability sector with exceptional achievements – either on the personal or the organisational front – inspiring awe and meriting a special mention in the Awards. This is an honorary award that carries a citation and a trophy.

This year’s achievers are:
CavinKare Special Recognition Award

Divyanshu Ganatra – Pune, Maharashtra

His adventurous exploits are legendary and so too his professional achievements. Clinical psychologist, corporate trainer, educationist and researcher Divyanshu Ganatra is the Managing Partner of Yellow Brick Road that works in the fields of education, corporate training and counselling. On the adventure front, he is the first blind person in the country to do solo-paragliding. He is a mountaineer and scuba diver as well. Most recently, he became India’s first visually impaired person to complete a tandem bicycle expedition from Manali to Khardung La, the highest motorable road in the world. Divyanshu has set up ‘Adventure Beyond Barriers Foundation’ to promote adventure sports among persons with disabilities.

CavinKare Award for Eminence

Murugasamy – Tirupur, Tamilnadu

From his humble origins in a village in Tirupur, he now stands tall as an icon of society. The founder of ‘Tirupur District Sports Association for the Deaf’, K. Murugasamy has been training scores of deaf youngsters in sports, facilitating their participation in district, state and national level meets, and getting them access to various governmental welfare schemes. Deaf, without speech himself, he founded the ‘Tirupur School for the Deaf’ that provides free education in Tamil and English medium streams to deaf children. It focuses on speech therapy, language skills, lip reading and hearing improvement, thus empowering generations of youngsters in carving out great personal and professional lives for themselves.

CavinKare Ability Master Award

Sai Kaustuv Dasgupta – Puttaparthi, Andhra Pradesh

This amazing multi-faceted young man is a graphic designer, singer, composer, motivational speaker and the author of ‘My Life, My Love, My Dear’ a book that has been translated into Telugu, Malayalam, Oriya, Gujarati and Hindi. Despite the limitations posed by osteogenesis imperfecta, and the resultant brittle bones, Sai Kaustuv Dasgupta radiates positivity. He moves around using an electronic wheelchair. He executes his graphic design work flawlessly, managing with just his two mobile fingers to operate a mouse to type on a virtual on-screen keyboard. Not content still, this young man wishes to raise awareness on accessibility across the country.

Suguna – Kanchipuram, Tamilnadu

A gutsy woman with a ready smile and positive outlook, she has been lighting up the lives of many young students at the Mahindra World School. Despite acquiring B.A. and B.Ed. degrees, Suguna was forced to continue selling peanut candies for a livelihood, since the schools she approached had not been willing to look beyond her visual impairment. And finally she found an empathetic employer in Mahindra World School.  Suguna now eyes further laurels towards a more dynamic life.

Pooja Gupta – Rewari, Haryana

Despite the plethora of challenges brought forth by Ataxia, this young woman became the first in her college to clear the National Eligibility Test (NET) and Junior Research Fellowship (JRF) test. Pooja Gupta also cleared various bank exams and was recruited into Punjab National Bank, where she is praised as a highly productive and capable professional. Pooja Gupta is unable to move her legs. Her muscle coordination, speech, throat and eye movements are affected. She is the sole bread-winner of her large family and dreams of becoming an IAS officer someday.

Jaskaran Singh – Bangalore, Karnataka

Jaskaran Singh made it to the prestigious IIM-Bangalore with a CAT score of 99 percentile,, rising like a phoenix after a devastating car crash in 2012 in which he lost his entire family .He himself was rendered a quadriplegic, with no control over his limbs, fingers, bowel, bladder, and body temperature.  Having to deal with emotional scars as well as physical ones, he continues on his way up towards a magnificent life. Meeting all problems head on, he is not only a top notch student of IIM Bangalore, but also the student representative of its Office of Disabled Services (ODS) committee and Vikasana – Teach to Transform programme.

This time, the illustrious jury comprised Dr. Mariazeena Johnson, Pro-Chancellor, Sathyabama University; Mr. Harish Lakshman, Managing Director, Rane Group; Ms. Alarmel Valli, Classical Dancer & Padma Bhushan Awardee, Mr. P.N. Vasudevan, Managing Director, Equitas Holdings Ltd., Dr. Priya Selvaraj, Assistant Director, G.G. Hospitals and Aishwaryaa Rajinikanth Dhanush, Film-maker & author.

Speaking about this year’s edition, Mr. CK Ranganathan, Chairman & Managing Director, CavinKare Pvt. Ltd. said, “It is fascinating to observe how over the years, the Awards has grown both in terms of stature and success.  I feel thoroughly overwhelmed to be a part of this 15 year inspirational journey. We started this award with an aim to the highlight the achievements of people with disabilities and join them in celebrating their dreams.  Looking back at the achievements of past years’ awardees, it gives me immense pleasure to witness their remarkable journey, not only in their personal achievements but also in fighting all odds and contributing to society. Like with every year, I believe that this year’s recipients will also grow to greater heights and achieve more remarkable milestones and inspire others further.  I wish all of them the very best for their future.”

Ms. Jayshree Raveendran, Founder & Honorary Executive Director, Ability Foundation, said, “Changing mindsets, dispelling stereotypes, focussing on the potential and spearheading change in attitudes towards persons with disabilities… these have always been our target, right from the time we initiated the Awards 15 years ago. And today, as we put forward our 15th edition, a sense of blissful attainment fills my heart. The work and the lives of our recipients speak for themselves. I doubt that any other award ceremony will be as inspiring, illuminating and send out a message to the discerning public as much as the CavinKare Ability Awards. “