In over 35 years of my corporate experience, I have seen how businesses can be a key driver of social change. Across the globe, organizations have begun acknowledging issues such as climate change, gender inequality, livelihoods, etc. Diversity and inclusion in the workplace is one such defining issue.
While great progress has been made towards equality across boundaries of gender, race and sexual orientation, one aspect of D&I is too often neglected: disability. Although 90% of companies claim to prioritize diversity, only 4% consider disability in those initiatives, according to a report from the Return On Disability Group. Even if jobs are available and people with disabilities are hired, providing them with an inclusive work environment with equal opportunities of growth and progress is still far fetched.
However, with the advent of Assistive Technology based solutions, workplace inclusion and creation of livelihood opportunities is not far fetched anymore. Assistive Technology truly bridges the gap between hiring and engaging people with disabilities in workplaces by providing accessibility and assistance through various innovative solutions, thereby reducing dependency amongst people with disabilities. While this is encouraging, the Assistive Technology sector needs more recognition, emphasis and fuel to flourish.
AssisTech Foundation, India’s first ecosystem enabler for ‘Assistive Technology for people with disabilities’, is on a mission to impact lives of people with disabilities in the areas of learning, livelihood & living by leveraging Assistive Technology. Being a patron of AssisTech Foundation (ATF) and a proud member of “Friends of ATF”, I have witnessed various transformative initiatives that benefited not just the community of persons with disabilities but also the ecosystem – startups, Government, corporates, NGOs, etc. who try to cater to the community.
With a view to shine the torchlight on the unsung heroes of the Assistive Technology sector, they are launching India’s first Assistive Technology Awards: ATF Awards 2022, an accolade that recognises and celebrates the stakeholders of the Assistive Technology sector. I would encourage the stakeholders to apply for the awards and tap this rare opportunity for enhanced awareness and recognition. To know more about ATF Awards 2022, visit https://atflabs.org/atf-awards-2022/