19th CavinKare Ability Awards Honours India’s Exemplary Achievers with Disabilities
Mumbai: Relentless in its efforts to spotlight the exemplary array of achievers with disabilities from across the country, CavinKare and Ability Foundation jointly organized their 19th CavinKare Ability Awards for Achievers with Disabilities in a contactless manner this time. These prestigious awards were presented to four outstanding achievers with disabilities, who brought forward their grit and courage to overcome hurdles in their journey to live life to the fullest.
Selected from across diverse fields, the recipients of this year’s edition were handpicked by an eminent panel of jury with the aim to recognize their zeal and verve in achieving significant milestones. The panel of eminent jury members for this year’s award included, Shri, N K Ranganath – Grundfos Water Ambassador, Grundfos Pumps India Private Limited, Shri. Shankar Mahadevan – Singer & Music Composer, Shri. Madhan Karky – Lyricist and Researcher, and, Smt. Latha Pandiarajan – Director, Ma Foi Strategic Consultants Pvt. Ltd and Shri. B. Shankar – Chief Executive Officer, Fourth Dimensions Media Solutions Pvt. Limited
The glittering award ceremony was graced by Grammy and Academy Award winning Indian musician, Shri. AR Rahman the Chief Guest.
Commenting on the occasion, Shri. CK Ranganathan, Chairman and Managing Director, CavinKare Pvt. Ltd. said, “Every time I hand over the trophy to the most deserving person of the year, for their fight against all odds, their excellence and eminence gets redefined. I am so happy to be part of it. Every single moment of the award function, over the last 18 years, has been so inspiring. To witness their journey and the strength with which they have overcome hurdles, is encouraging and motivating. We have been able to harness all of this positive energy into a magnificent, grand event and showcase it to a large segment of audience this year through a virtual platform. By amplifying their achievements, we urge the world to celebrate all the recipients of this award and comply themselves to get inspired.”
Said Smt. Jayshree Raveendran, Founder & Hon. Executive Director, Ability Foundation, “India has a huge population of people with disabilities. And yet, the strength, potentials, talents and capabilities of most persons with disabilities, by and large, tend to be overlooked or side-lined. By bringing to the fore the extent to which people with disabilities can shine and stand out… given the right opportunities at the right time and an unbiased mind, these Awards stand out from the rest. To say that we have been able to change mindsets and dispel stereotypes these 18 years of the Awards and now this 19th year, would be an understatement. I am so proud that our country can boast as such persons as have been showcased here, year after year. Ability Foundation has been steadfastly working towards bridging the divide between persons with and without disabilities and through these Awards, we hope to reach out to each and every one of you and march ahead towards an equal society for every citizen of the country, be they disabled or non-disabled.”
This one-of-its kind national level award comprise two categories: the CavinKare Ability Award for Eminence & the CavinKare Ability Mastery Awards. This year, due to the difficulties and restrictions imposed by the pandemic situation in our Country, the nominees were carefully selected by an expert committee from the previous years’ nominees, based on the same criteria and difficulty level as always.
The recipients of CavinKare Ability Awards 2021 are:
CavinKare Ability Award for Eminence
C Govindakrishnan, Chennai, Tamil Nadu
If one man can launch a thousand careers and more, it must be C Govindakrishnan. Gopi, as he is popularly known, is the founder of Nethrodaya, that has been providing thousands of students with visual impairment with free, accessible, residential, and quality higher education, and launched them into great careers over the last two decades. All the more remarkable is this feat, as most of these students hail from rural areas. Other game-changing initiatives of Nethrodaya include innovative self-employment schemes for visually impaired families, a medical helpline for the visually impaired, and the Death with Dignity Scheme for the visually impaired. Someone who set off on a spectacular journey as social change maker even as a college student, Govindakrishnan, a person with visual impairment himself, also works with the state and central governments in formulating schemes and policies for people with disabilities.
CavinKare Ability Mastery Awards
G.J. Siddharth, Bengaluru, Karnataka
Banker with several formidable banking certifications under his belt, a public speaker (TedX speaker) who has spoken in more than 200 forums, author, and life coach G.J. Siddharth is an extraordinary achiever. Siddharth, who developed cerebral palsy, post a jaundice attack when he was a few days old, which significantly impacted his body movement and speech clarity, is the 1st Indian with cerebral palsy to complete the very tough trade finance course, and the second in the world to do so. He is a Certified Documentary Credit Specialist (CDCS) from the Institute of Financial Services, UK. As an Associate Vice President in Corporate Social Responsibility team of a leading financial institution, Siddharth is driving diversity and inclusion initiatives within the organisation.
Nandita Venkatesan, Mumbai, Maharashtra
Nandita is an accomplished Bharatanatyam dancer, patients’ and disability rights advocate, and a public speaker. Nandita Venkatesan is an achiever who looks set to scale more and more heights. Someone who battled TB in the intestine as a teenager, which took a toll on her physical and psychological health, she later lost 90% of her hearing from a rare side effect of medication, which left her in social isolation and depression. Nandita has fought battle after battle and only emerged stronger from it all. Along the way, she is blazing a trial as a social change maker too, speaking up for the rights of patients, advocating for safer drugs and newer diagnostics, besides handholding TB patients and helping them complete its strenuous treatment and battle stigma. After a stint as the only editorial professional with disability in India’s largest financial newspaper, Nandita is currently pursuing a fully funded Master’s degree in Public Policy at Oxford University.
Vikram Agnihotri, Indore, Madhya Pradesh
Vikram Agnihotri is India’s first bilateral amputee to be granted a Permanent Driving License for a car. Someone who breaks through the wall when he finds one blocking him, Vikram’s efforts had gone a long way in bringing about the amendment of the Motor Vehicle Act that made this license possible. Vikram went on to win the Car Amateurs category in the FMSCI Malwa Adventure in 2017. He drives using his feet as he lost both his upper limbs to an electrical accident when he was seven years old. A commerce graduate with a postgraduate degree in economics and an LLB Hons too, Vikram is the proprietor of a HPCL LPG distributorship. Vikram runs an NGO called Vital Spark Welfare Society and under the banner WiL – Winners in Life, he conducts motivational training programmes. ‘Wil Talk’ is now a successful platform for talks on various topics.