Chennai, 17th February 2020: In an effort to recognize and spotlight the achievements of some extraordinary people with disabilities, CavinKare and Ability Foundation jointly organized the 18th edition of the CavinKare Ability Awards in the city today. Held at Sir Mutha Venkatasubba Rao Auditorium, the awards function showcased exemplary success of five people with disabilities from across the country. The event was attended by stalwarts from diverse walks of life and the esteemed panel of jury.
In its 18th year journey, the CavinKare Ability Awards has recognized admirable achievements of people with disabilities. Over 65 awardees have stood testimony for breaking stereotypes and challenging the mind-set of the society towards disability. The members of jury this year were Sriram Subramanya, Founder, Managing Director & CEO , Integra Software Services Pvt Ltd, Ishwar Achanta, Hon Treasurer & Council Member, Indian Golf Union & Board member, Asia-Pacific Golf Confederation, Sharada Ramanathan, Film Director & Writer, Suresh Balaje, Film Producer & Lakshmy Ramakrishnan, Film maker, Actor & Television Personality.
Challenging the status quo, five star achievers of this year, set an inspiring mood for the evening with their power packed deeds and speech. Enthralling the audience with their boundless energy and confidence, the outstanding awardees shared their life journey vividly. The evening ended on a high-note with both the recipients of the awards as well as the audience, leaving as inspired and empowered individuals.
The highlight for the evening was a fireside chat between actress & director, Revathi and Anindya Bhattacharyya, a global leader in the deaf & blind community
This is one-of-its kind national level award conceived and curated by Mr. CK Ranganathan, CMD, CavinKare Pvt Ltd and Ms. Jayshree Raveendran, Founder & Hon. Executive Director, Ability Foundation, to showcase the latent talents of people with disabilities and dispel stereotypes. The nomination process for the award had begun as early as 3 months ahead of the event through announcements in all national media and sister organizations. The nominations thus received are meticulously screened and shortlisted, based on the awardees’ difficulty levels, triumph over adversity and uniqueness of the task accomplished.
Commenting on the occasion, Mr. CK Ranganathan, Chairman and Managing Director – CavinKare said, “Each year as we move ahead, the CavinKare Ability Awards continue to inspire us with immensely talented people showcasing their strong grit and determination beyond imagination. This award is a testimony for their perseverance, courage and desire to achieve great heights by overcoming barriers steadily. This year it has also been a very special and proud moment for us as two of our ability awardees, Mr S Ramakrishnan from Tamil Nadu and Mr Javed Ahmad Tak from Jammu & Kashmir have been conferred the prestigious Padma Shri Award during the 71st Republic day celebration held in New Delhi last month. Today as we step into a new year of CavinKare Ability Awards ceremony, bringing into limelight five more achievers has filled our hearts with pride and happiness.”
Ms. Jayshree Raveendran, Founder & Honorary Executive Director, Ability Foundation, To celebrate humanity, to bring out the galaxy of human diversity and to spotlight on the range of talent that exists amidst humankind has been the singular mission of the CavinKare ABILITY Awards. Each year, we at Ability Foundation and Cavin Kare have been are enthused and overwhelmed by the breath-taking scale of nominations that we receive and we are overjoyed to see our eminent jurists mull and ponder and struggle to pick out that year’s recipients. I can only say that spotlighting on the recipients each year, for 18 consecutive years so far, has been an amazing and enriching an experience. Our country does boast of such persons as these, and it is for every single citizen to be aware and ensure equality and equal opportunity sans bias.
About CavinKare Ability Awards
The CavinKare Ability Award for Eminencesalutes the achievements of a person with disability, who has not only overcome great odds but has also initiated his/her own organization to contribute to the society. This award carries a citation, a trophy and a cash prize of Rs. 2 lakhs.
The CavinKare Ability Mastery Awards are presented to three individuals with disabilities in recognition of their extraordinary achievement in any field of their choice and not succumbing to popular opinion on their cans and can’ts. The recipients of this award receive a citation, trophy and a cash prize of Rs. 1 lakh, each.
Over and above these awards, there is also a recently instituted “CavinKare Ability Special Recognition Award”, which is yet another category of the award given to a person with disability who is also an acknowledged leader in the disability sector with exceptional achievements – either on the personal or the organizational front – inspiring admiration and meriting a special mention at the Awards. This honorary award, carries a citation and a trophy.
This year’s achievers are:
CavinKare Ability Special Recognition Award
A man of many hats, Anindya Bhattacharyya, who has a bachelor’s degree in political science from UALR, holds a full-time and consequential job as coordinator of the National Outreach Technology Development and Training Program at the Helen Keller National Center, NY, runs a digital online store, Bapin Group, and is the CEO of the company. An activist too, he played a major role in the passage of the United States’ 21 st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act. Someone who was born in a small village in West Bengal and left completely deafblind early on in his childhood, Anindya overcame numerous trials and challenges and has grown to be an international leader of the deaf-blind community, an activist, a successful professional, a gutsy entrepreneur, a sports enthusiast, a keen cook and woodwork designer, popular with friends. And much more.
CavinKare Ability Award for Eminence
Swarnalatha. J Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu
Swarnalatha. J is the founder of the Swarga Charitable Trust, along with her husband Guruprasad.To Swarga goes the credit of creating accessible toilets in every platform of Indian Railways’Coimbatore Junction and 10 Government schools; making nine schools in Coimbatore wheelchair friendly; setting up Tamil Nadu’s first wheelchair accessible transportation service SARATHI, and Sowkhya Physiotherapy and Wellness Centre that offers services free of cost to people with and without disabilities. This apart, mobility aids, medicines, and financial aid for hospitalization for girls and women with disabilities, and the inspirational ‘I’m Special’ calendar. At 29, Swarnalatha was diagnosed withmultiple sclerosis which rudely interrupted her soaring corporate career. She learned to cope with the intense pain and immobility caused by MS and reinvented herself to take on the world.
CavinKare Ability Mastery Awards
Adil Mohammed Nazir Ansari, Mumbai, Maharashtra
Adil Mohammed Nazir Ansari has two Limca records to his credit – one for the longest bike ride (300km) by a quadriplegic and another record for driving the Golden Quadrilateral on a modified car. He has won the National Archery Championship title three times and has represented India in para archery tournaments in China, the Czech Republic, Dubai and Netherlands. He has also bagged two gold medals in para swimming. Adil battled a spinal cord injury that left him paralysed neck down, multiple infections and a bed sore that lay bare the bone underneath it and emerged a top sportsman and a world record holder despite it all. He slowly learned to use the muscles that still worked and became as independent as possible.
Rakshitha Raju, Bengaluru, Karnataka
Rakshitha Raju is the first Indian woman with blindness to have won gold medals in the track events at the Asian games 2018. She went on to win a Gold in the 1500m event at the Para Athletics Grand Prix in Paris (2018) and the Junior World Championship in Switzerland (2019). This trailblazing para athlete has qualified for the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics. Having come so far despite having minimal vision in both eyes that lets her perceive only light and shadow, losing her parents as a four-year-old, and being born in a remote village in Karnataka, this 18-year-old makes us imbibe the belief that anything is possible. Grabbing opportunities that came her way, she has risen to become a top para athlete. Learning braille, she is also pursuing her education by self-study.
Tinkesh set a record when he bungee jumped from a height of 160m in Nepal and will be featured in the Limca Book of Records 2020 for this feat. He is an athlete, swimmer, para cyclist,marathoner, and a very effective fitness and wellness coach for persons with and without disabilities. Already certified in fitness and nutrition, he is pursuing a higher certification in the same. An electrical accident in his childhood and lack of good medical care left him a triple amputee with 90% disability – with no legs and just one arm. Without a trace of bitterness for this, his underprivileged background or the negativity that society viewed him with on becoming disabled, Tinkesh has risen to shine in his profession and passion, and lives and travels independently.