Monday, 6 December 2021

Tech Mahindra Foundation hosts Saajhi Samajh on ‘Including Disability at the Workplace’

Holds expert-led panel discussion on bringing inclusivity at workplaces for Persons with Disabilities (PWDs)

Mumbai - 6 December 2021: Today, Tech Mahindra Foundation (TMF), the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) arm of Tech Mahindra, hosted the sixth edition of Saajhi Samajh on ‘Including Disability at the Workplace: From Aspiration to Action’. On the occasion of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities on 3rd December 2021, an expert-led panel discussion was hosted to promote the idea of an inclusive workplace for persons with disabilities (PWDs). The online event was attended by corporate veterans, employers, and young entrepreneurs to understand the significance of creating a conducive environment for PWDs.

During the event, in his keynote address, C P Gurnani, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Tech Mahindra said, “At Tech Mahindra, we are intentionally diverse and globally inclusive. We believe that diversity is the missing block of the puzzle that will unlock future growth opportunities for enterprises across the world. It is more important now than ever for businesses to embrace workforce diversity and reap its complimentary benefits in terms of increased creativity and profitability. Disabled individuals represent an untapped pool of skills that can enable businesses and industries with unique opportunities.”

On the policy front, the Disability Act, 1995 paved the way for social protection and inclusion of PWDs. Despite the policies, there is a long way for both the private and public sectors to realize the paradigm shift to the world of social inclusion of the PWDs. Even today, they still do not experience equal access to education in mainstream schools or colleges or find suitable and desired job roles in workplaces.

“Believing that there is Ability in Disability, Disability is one of our focus areas of intervention. Aligning to the UN SDG 8, our exclusive education and skill training programs (ARISE+ and SMART+) are working towards creating an inclusive world for PWDs, where they can get opportunities of work for a better future with life of dignity and confidence. I hope that this discussion platform brings out affirmative action steps from employers and experts on promoting the idea of an inclusive workplace for PWDs.said Rakesh Soni, Chief Executive Officer, Tech Mahindra Foundation.

Addressing the need of bringing out affirmative action steps on promoting the idea of an inclusive workplace for PWDs, the panel discussion was undertaken by experts from the social sector, government, and civil society including Mr Ravindra Singh, CEO, Skill Council for Persons with Disability (SCPwD), Ms Aradhana Lal, Vice President, Brand, Communications & Sustainability Initiatives, Lemon Tree Hotels, Mr Ravi Gopal, Program Head, BPS, Tech Mahindra, Mr Prateek Madhav, Co-Founder & CEO at AssisTech Foundation (ATF) along with Ms Shivani Dimri, Manager HR-D&I Lead, BigBasket.

Know more about the event here.

About Tech Mahindra Foundation

Tech Mahindra Foundation is the corporate social responsibility arm of Tech Mahindra Limited, a Mahindra Group Company. Founded in the year 2007, as a Section 25 Company (referred to as a Section 8 Company in the Companies Act, 2013), it has been extensively working in the areas of education, employability, and disability, with a keen focus on corporate volunteering. As per the mandate, we strive for 50% of women beneficiaries and 10% beneficiaries as persons and children with disabilities.

The Foundation works towards ensuring that PWDs have an equal opportunity and the access to a better future. It has been working for Youth with Disabilities for over 7 years now. ARISE+ is a special program that encompasses the Foundation’s work in the area of school education for persons with disabilities in the age group 3-18 years. It focuses on providing adequate education for persons with disabilities and gradually enabling them to become a part of the mainstream education system. Whereas, the Foundation’s employability program, titled SMART+ (Skills for Market Training for Youth with Disabilities), prepares young men and women with a diverse range of disabilities (visual impairment, hearing/speech impairment and locomotive disability) for workplaces. The program provides hands-on training and exposure to the rich curriculum and learning resources that help them develop life-skills and support them with jobs to become financially independent. Over the years, this program has impacted over 10, 671 beneficiaries in 11 major cities of India, including Bengaluru, Bhubaneswar, Chennai, Delhi, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Pune, Nagpur, Chandigarh and Vizag.

In alignment with our program, ‘Saajhi Samajh (or Shared Understanding)', is the Foundation’s attempt towards creating a broader platform to enable advocacy through discourse and discussion to address issues and topics ranging from employment to education that has a direct bearing on society including its own set of beneficiaries.

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