Four differently abled achievers honoured

Four differently abled achievers were honoured at the 19th CavinKare Ability Awards (CKAA) held virtually on Saturday.

The CKAA for Eminence was conferred upon C. Govindakrishnan, alias Gopi, founder of Nethrodaya, for providing free, accessible, residential, and quality higher education for visually impaired students, mostly from rural areas, and launching them into great careers over the last two decades.

Self-employment schemes, a medical helpline and the Death with Dignity Scheme for the visually impaired were initiated by Mr. Govindakrishnan, a person with visual impairment.

The CKA Mastery Awards were given to three persons, including G.J. Siddharth from Bengaluru. He developed cerebral palsy after a jaundice attack when he was just a few days old, which significantly impacted his body movement and speech clarity. However, this did not deter him from becoming an achiever.

He dons many roles, including a banker with several formidable banking certifications under his belt, a public speaker (TedX speaker), author and life coach. He is the first Indian and second in the world with cerebral palsy to complete the very tough trade finance course. He is a Certified Documentary Credit Specialist (CDCS) from the Institute of Financial Services, U.K.

As an associate vice-president in the CSR team of a leading financial institution, he is driving diversity and inclusion initiatives within the organisation.

Another awardee, Nandita Venkatesan from Mumbai is an accomplished Bharatanatyam dancer, patients’ and disability rights advocate, and a public speaker. She battled tuberculosis in the intestine as a teenager and later lost 90% of hearing from a rare side effect of medication. She is currently pursuing a fully-funded Master’s degree in Public Policy at Oxford University.

Vikram Agnihotri, from Indore, the country’s first bilateral amputee to be granted a permanent car driving licence, is the other recipient. He drives using his feet as he lost both his hands in an electrical accident when he was seven. His efforts went a long way in bringing about the amendment of the Motor Vehicle Act that made this licence possible.

Mr. Vikram runs NGO Vital Spark Welfare Society and under the banner WiL – Winners in Life, he conducts motivational training programmes.

Music composer A. R. Rahman, the chief guest, who has been associated with Ability Foundation for several years, said “It is hard to pick four people from the many who are worthy.”

C. K. Ranganathan, CMD, CavinKare Pvt Ltd., said, “To witness their (awardees) journey and the strength with which they have overcome hurdles is encouraging and motivating.”

Jayshree Raveendran, founder, Ability Foundation, said India had a huge population of differently abled persons.

However their strength, potential, talents and capabilities tend to be overlooked or side-lined.

Singer Shankar Mahadevan performed at the event.

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Printable version | Apr 16, 2021 5:20:33 AM |

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