Zero Project India
About the partnership
In collaboration with Youth4Jobs, an India based social enterprise working to boost the employability of people with disabilities, the Zero Project launched The Zero Project India Conference (#ZeroConIndia) in 2023.
The Conference promises to be a unique and powerful event that will bring together diverse stakeholders – from India or with an interest in India and South Asia-to introduce and promote innovative solutions to achieve a more inclusive society for persons with disabilities. It will connect the global network of the Zero Project with the Indian community of persons with disabilities, its ecosystems of innovators, the tech and business sector, organisations working in the grassroots and the public sector.
The inaugural Zero Project India Conference & CII-IBDN National Conference is jointly organised with the Confederation of Indian Industry, and is supported by Omidyar Network India. The lead partner for the conference is Youth4Jobs. Other partners of the conference are GDi Partners, Axis Bank Foundation and The Hans Foundation.
The conference's primary objective is to achieve three key outcomes:
- generate attention among key decision-makers, such as elected representatives, government bureaucrats, and funders, regarding the needs of people with disabilities;
- foster an active and engaged community of changemakers, including policy makers, researchers, entrepreneurs, startups, and nonprofits, who can collaborate and support each other;
- showcase innovations in the disability space.
Located in the heart of Hyderabad, Youth 4 Jobs is dedicated to providing education and employment opportunities for persons with disabilities. Their primary focus areas include skilling with job linkages, enhancing accessibility in infrastructure, workplaces, and technology, and fostering a change in mindsets within communities, colleges, and companies. Keeping disability at the heart of design, Y4J has set up SwarajAbility, South Asia’s first accessible cutting edge tech jobs platform for persons with disabilities.
Meera Shenoy, the Founder-CEO, is widely recognized as a pioneer in market-linked skill training programs for rural, tribal, and youth with disabilities. She set up India’s first Skilling Mission, EGMM, for the Andhra Pradesh government, which influenced national policy. Previously, she served as a Senior Advisor at UNDP for Youth Skilling, where she played a key role in integrating rural girls into government flagship Rural livelihood program. She served as the World Bank's specialist in the youth component of poverty alleviation projects across South Asia . She runs Not Just Art, which holds the annual Global Ability Photography Challenge. Meera Shenoy has received numerous national and international awards. India’s Prime Minister mentioned her exceptional work in his popular “Mann ki Baat”.
About the partnership
EnAble India and the Zero Project have established a partnership centred around the use of the Zero Project's data on inclusive and scalable innovations: The Disabilities Innovative Solutions Hub (DISH) is a powerful resource poised to revolutionise the lives of individuals with disabilities and their advocates by providing them with the means to access solutions, generate ideas, and overcome barriers.
People with disabilities and their advocates consistently seek solutions to address challenges, whether on an individual or societal level. In recent years, it has become evident that grassroots-level solutions hold the potential to enhance the lives of people with disabilities with dignity and respect and there is a growing need to address the dissemination of these solutions, enabling others to apply them effectively. This led to the development of the centralised DISH platform, equipped with AI-driven search capabilities, where a repository of solutions can be accessed and utilised by various stakeholders in the disability field.
More details on the partnership, as well as on how to utilize the DISH database, will be released in fall 2023.
About EnAble India
EnAble India (EI) is a non-profit organization based in Bangalore, working on the ground for the last 2 decades and impacting thousands of persons with disabilities.
Their vision is a world where persons with disabilities are tax payers, active citizens and nation builders. EI believes that India and the world will benefit from seeing persons with disabilities as change agents, and serve as a constant reminder for the need for inclusion of everybody. To attain this vision, EI is on a mission to build a sustainable Livelihood Ecosystem for millions of persons with disabilities to attain a dignified life while having a positive impact on the economy and society.
The Indian context: making growth more inclusive
India is home to an estimated 26.8 million people living with disabilities. In India, the 2011 Census estimated that 2.21% of the country’s population consisted of People with Disabilities (PwDs). There are several problems unique to the Indian context that make addressing the issue of disability rights a challenging one. Some of them include social stigma, data collection and problems exacerbated by barriers of geography, gender, and livelihood.