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  Social Responsibility

Social Inclusion
Published on: June 6, 2020, 8:23 p.m.
Spark Minda is enabling the disabled
  • A Spark Minda event for persons with disabilities

By Sekhar Seshan. Consulting Editor, Business India

Spark Minda aims to bring change, however big or small, in the lives of 1,000 persons with disabilities (PWDs) in 2020 through its CSR arm Spark Minda Foundation, according to group CEO Ashok Minda. The Foundation runs a special programme, Saksham - Empowerment of Persons with Disability, which has enabled changes in the lives of more than 8,000 such people in the past five years.

The scope of the programme has been expanded this year: the foundation has tied up with CII (Confederation of Indian Industries), to facilitate the employment of persons with different types of disabilities in CII-empanelled companies. These organisations, led by the Gurugram-headquartered Minda Corporation, include Aegis Global, Godrej Agrovet, Sodexo, Sarovar Hotel, and Accor Group.

Saksham, started in 2015 to help PWDs, has also won the National CSR Award 2019, which was conferred by finance and corporate affairs minister Nirmala Sitharaman in the presence of the President of India. With Saksham, the group aims to provide accessible and assistive technology, impart on-the-job training to develop skills, create inclusive workplace and ergonomics, train PWDs for 5s and life skills and employ them.

The Foundation’s stated vision is to build a sustainable society through improving the quality of life, protect the planet through affirmative action, and establish integrated and inclusive growth of people and the environment.

Says its chairperson Sarika Minda: “The Foundation has been energetically working to provide a better life, means and income support to people who have been left alone in different strides of life. We have been able to provide a sustainable life for the community as a whole.”

The Foundation held a week-long ‘empowerment of persons with disability’ camp at Chimbali Phata near Pune recently, at which more than 118 PWDs were provided with employment linkages and more than 162 persons were facilitated to obtain the UDID (unique identification) cards as PWDs to avail related benefits. “Our association with Pune began with putting up a production belt in Yerwada Jail,” Sarika Minda points out. “Now we have also set up a Saksham divyang empowerment centre here. We are proud to say that we have been able to reach out to more than 1,000 people in and around Pune within a span of seven days.”

One of the main purposes of the camp, which had more than 30 programme partners for support, was to provide assistive devices to persons with locomotive disability by providing end-to-end support in limb and caliper fitment, providing walkers, elbow crutches and other aids. Jaipur Foot has been an indispensable part of the Foundation’s empowerment camps. Skilling and employment support, as well as facilitation, is also planned for persons with other types of disabilities. All these services were offered free to the large number of PWDs from different parts of Maharashtra who attended.


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