CavinKare Ability Master Award function held in Chennai
Up until last year, K. Suguna was selling peanut candy on trains for a livelihood despite having B.A. and B.Ed. degrees. Ms. Suguna, from Kancheepuram, has been visually impaired since childhood. She did well at a school for the visually impaired in Puducherry, but could not complete her studies due to financial constraints. Her husband, a classmate, encouraged her to pursue her degrees, but she was unable to find a job even after completion. Last year, she got a job at the Mahindra World School, where she teaches Tamil. And now, Ms. Suguna wants to study further — her dream is to complete her Ph. D and teach in a college.
Ms. Suguna was one of four recipients of the CavinKare Ability Master Award given at a function held on Saturday. Other recipients were Sai Kaustuv Gupta, a graphic designer from Puttaparthi, Andhra Pradesh, who has osteogenesis imperfecta, a condition that leads to brittle bones; Pooja Gupta of Rewari, Haryana, who has ataxia, a condition in which there is a lack of muscle control, who has cleared the National Eligibility Test and various bank exams and works at a bank; and Jaskaran Singh, an IIM student from Bangalore, who became paraplegic after an accident.
The CavinKare Ability Special Recognition Award was given to Divyanshu Gunatra of Pune, who is visually impaired and is a clinical psychologist, corporate trainer as well a mountaineer and scuba diver, and has set up Adventure Beyond Barriers Foundation to promote adventure sports among persons with disabilities.
The CavinKare Award for Eminence was given to K. Murugasamy of Tirupur, the founder of Tirupur District Sports Association for the Deaf and the Tirupur School for the Deaf that provides free education in Tamil and English streams.
This was the 15th year of the awards, said Jayshree Raveendran, founder and executive director, Ability Foundation, a national cross disability umbrella organisation, adding that it has been an amazing journey that reiterated everything the organisation stood for: rights, dignity and equality.
“Fifteen years ago, awareness and the mentality of acceptance was very low. As we progressed, the change in mindset became palpable,” she said.
C.K. Ranganathan, chairman and managing director, CavinKare, a diversified FMCG major, said society should open up to give jobs to persons with disabilities on an equal platform.
The distribution of awards was interspersed with music and dance performances by inclusive troupes and bands.