India 20th February, 2017: CavinKare Pvt. Ltd. and Ability Foundation together organised the 15th CavinKare Ability Awards, 2017 at Sri Mutha Venkatasubba Rao Auditorium, Chetpet, and 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.

CavinKareAbility Special Recognition Award

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

Thisyear’s achievers are:

CavinKareSpecial Recognition Award

Divyanshu Ganatra – Pune, Maharashtra 

His adventurous exploits are legendary and so too hisprofessional achievements. Clinical psychologist, corporate trainer,educationist and researcher Divyanshu Ganatra is the Managing Partner of YellowBrick Road that works in the fields of education, corporate training andcounselling. On the adventure front, he is the first blind person in thecountry to do solo-paragliding. He is a mountaineer and scuba diver aswell. Most recently, he became India's first visually impaired personto complete a tandem bicycle expedition from Manali toKhardung La, the highest motorable road in theworld. Divyanshu has set up ‘Adventure Beyond Barriers Foundation’ topromote adventure sports among persons with disabilities.


CavinKare Award for Eminence 

K. Murugasamy - Tirupur, Tamilnadu 

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

CavinKare Ability Master AwardSai Kaustuv Dasgupta – Puttaparthi, Andhra Pradesh 

This amazing multi-faceted young man is a graphicdesigner, singer, composer, motivational speaker and the author of ‘My Life, MyLove, My Dear’ a book that has been translated into Telugu, Malayalam, Oriya,Gujarati and Hindi. Despite the limitations posed by osteogenesisimperfecta, and the resultant brittle bones, Sai Kaustuv Dasgupta radiatespositivity. He moves around using an electronic wheelchair. He executes hisgraphic design work flawlessly, managing with just his two mobile fingers tooperate 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. 

K. 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 WorldSchool. Despite acquiring B.A. and B.Ed. degrees, Suguna was forced to continueselling peanut candies for a livelihood, since the schools she approached hadnot been willing to look beyond her visual impairment. And finally she found anempathetic employer in Mahindra World School.  Suguna now eyes furtherlaurels towards a more dynamic life. 

Pooja Gupta – Rewari, Haryana 

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

Jaskaran Singh – Bangalore, Karnataka 

Jaskaran Singh made it to the prestigiousIIM-Bangalore with a CAT score of 99 percentile,, rising like a phoenix after adevastating car crash in 2012 in which he lost his entire family .He himselfwas rendered a quadriplegic, with no control over his limbs, fingers, bowel,bladder, and body temperature.  Having to deal with emotional scars aswell 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 IIMBangalore, but also the student representative of its Office of DisabledServices (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. 

Speakingabout this year's edition, Mr. CK Ranganathan, Chairman & ManagingDirector, CavinKare Pvt. Ltd. said, “It is fascinating to observe howover the years, the Awards has grown both in terms of stature andsuccess.  I feel thoroughly overwhelmed to be a part of this 15 yearinspirational journey. We started this award with an aim to the highlightthe achievements of people with disabilities and join them in celebrating theirdreams.  Looking back at the achievements of past years’ awardees, itgives me immense pleasure to witness their remarkable journey, not only intheir personal achievements but also in fighting all odds and contributing tosociety. Like with every year, I believe that this year’s recipients will alsogrow to greater heights and achieve more remarkable milestones and inspireothers further.  I wish all of them the very best for their future.”

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

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