Empowering the Differently Abled with Opportunities for Progress
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Empowering the Differently Abled with Opportunities for Progress

By auther pic. Gaver Chatterjee

July 15, 2019

Empowering the Differently Abled with Opportunities for Progress

Project Enable- Rehabilitation for physically challenged

 

The CSR policy of Hero MotoCorp Ltd. rests on the foundation of equal opportunity and inclusion for all. The organization believes that the principles of CSR are integral to its business. Under its umbrella of We Care, it has conceptualized 6 flagship programmes. One of them, Project Enable, is Hero MotoCorp’s initiative to ensure that the specially-abled in Indian society get due care and recognition and are able to function to their full potential.

 

Launched on 1st April 2017 in Delhi-NCR, Rajasthan, Haryana and some parts of the North East, Project Enable fulfils the principles of corporate social responsibility while making good business and social sense. The population with disabilities in India is around 26.8 million, constituting 2.21% of India’s total population, (Source-2011 Population Census). Thus, people with disabilities constitute a huge bank of human resource who, given suitable opportunities, could well contribute towards the growth Indian economy.

 

In order to fulfil its mission in a structured manner, Hero MotoCorp instituted three verticals for working with the differently-abled; viz. supporting Paralympics athletes, rehabilitation for the physically challenged and skill building for the differently-abled.

 

The task was challenging but the company strategized carefully for it, striking up partnerships with NGOs with proven track records working in the space of disability and mapping a way forward with them.

 

For the Paralympics athlete rehabilitation project, Hero MotoCorp tied up with the Paralympic Committee of India to support para sports at national and international levels. The Paralympic Games is a major international multi-sport event involving athletes with a range of disabilities, including impaired muscle power, impaired passive range of movement, limb deficiency, vision impairment, intellectual impairment and many others. As part of its CSR initiative Hero supported the participation of para athletes at the World Para Athletics Championships in London in July’2017 to which India had sent the largest ever contingent in the history of Summer Paralympic Games with 16 men and 3 women representing the country. The company supported the participation of these promising players, four of whom brought back coveted medals. Interestingly, this turned out to be the best ever performance by India in the history of the Paralympics with the country’s contingent winning 2 gold medals, a silver medal and a bronze. Javelin thrower Devendra Jhajharia even broke the world record. Additionally, in order to influence the perception of the general public about the ability of differently-abled people, the company launched an inspirational movie for the promotion of para athletes.

 

Artificial Limb specially designed for physically challenged

 

Under the second initiative, rehabilitation for physically challenged people, the focus was on those who suffer from physical impairments, physical limitations and participation restrictions or have a problem in body function or structure. Financial aid was made available to all people with these conditions. Under this vertical, the company provided diagnosis, laboratory tests, corrective surgery, plastering, medicines, artificial limbs, crutches, wheel chairs and other such aids to physically challenged, underprivileged people.

 

The company’s NGO Partners Bhagwan Mahaveer Viklang Sahayata Samiti (BMVSS) famous for its "Jaipur Foot" and Narayan Seva Sansthan in Udaipur implemented the project. Corrective surgery was undertaken for 500 patients while artificial limbs and crutches were provided to 1208 physically challenged people from the economically weaker sections of society, quite transforming their lives. Hero MotoCorp ensured that suitable follow-up treatment was given to the beneficiaries to make the procedure as complete as possible. Corrective surgery procedures were followed up with physiotherapy and treatment through medicines to ensure that the maximum potential was reached for movement by the patients. In most patients, an improvement of up to 35-50% was observed. After this, the capacity to achieve almost a 100% improvement was possible with regular exercise, regarding which patients were given detailed information.

 

But what speaks of the true sustainability of the project is the skill-building vertical. The company’s goal was not only to help the differently-abled with a solution to their physical impairments but to also empower them to live their lives with dignity. It was with this in mind that Hero MotoCorp supported its third programme under Project Enable. With a view to making the differently-abled independent, it provided a grant to the NGO National Association for the Blind Employment and Training to conduct an ability-based livelihood empowerment (ABLE) program for 600women between the age group of 18-40 years. The programme was for women with speech and hearing Impairment, visual Impairment and orthopaedic disability.  The women were given training, completely free, in various skills and many of them were placed in jobs or given guidance and support to start their own small businesses as well.

 

Disability is often seen as inability by the majority and frequently leads to the isolation of the differently abled. In the process the potential talent and skills of many goes wasted and the country loses out on valuable human resources. Through Project Enable, Hero MotorCorp worked towards providing adequate opportunities to the differently-abled to develop their capacities and to help in taking India forward in its path of progress.

 

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Impact-Story is a series on development and CSR interventions leading to some impacts on the ground. If you have a project, innovation or intervention that has changed the lives of a few people or a community, please share a brief note at csr@ngobox.org. Our Team will get back to you after validating the information for a detailed coverage. 

Author

Gaver Chatterjee is a freelance journalist who has worked with many publications in the past including Education World, Hindustan Times, PowerLine and many others.

 

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