Joining forces for Disability Inclusion
The Conference was jointly organised by the Zero Project and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and was supported by Omidyar Network India. The lead partner for the conference was Youth4Jobs. Other partners of the conference were GDi Partners, Axis Bank Foundation and The Hans Foundation.
Omidyar Network India
Omidyar Network India invests in bold entrepreneurs who help create a meaningful life for every Indian, especially the hundreds of millions of Indians in low-income and lower- middle-income populations, ranging from the poorest among us to the existing middle class. To drive empowerment and impact at scale, we work with entrepreneurs in the private, nonprofit and public sectors, who are tackling India’s hardest and most chronic problems. We invest in the areas of Advancing Cities, Digital Society, Education & Employability, Emerging Technologies, Financial Inclusion & Wellbeing and Property Inclusivity. While India has progressed on several economic and social outcomes in the past decade, certain communities remain marginalized and left out of India’s growth story. This presents a need for a ‘bottoms-up’ lens to development if India is to achieve an inclusive growth story. To this end, ONI has established the “The Equal Opportunities Lab” investment initiative. The initiative will invest in tech-based innovations and systemic solutions to reverse key structural inequities and accelerate our journey towards a more equitable India. This includes startups and nonprofit initiatives that enable the agency of women, empower persons with disabilities, build under-served regions, and support the elderly. Omidyar Network India is part of the Omidyar Group, a diverse collection of companies, organizations and initiatives, supported by philanthropists Pam and Pierre Omidyar, founder of eBay.
The Confederation of Indian Industry
The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) is a non-government, not-for-profit, industry-led and industry-managed organization that works to create and sustain an environment conducive to the development of India, partnering with industry, government, and civil society through advisory and consultative processes. Over 125 years, CII has played a pivotal role in shaping India's development journey and actively works to transform Indian Industry's contribution to national progress. CII specially set up the India Business and Disability Network (IBDN) , a country network to engage, enable, and empower companies to become inclusion champions. In partnership with the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the Employers' Federation of India (EFI), IBDN strives to create inclusive, accessible, and barrier-free workplaces within the corporate sector. It stands as a unique initiative, empowering and enabling individuals with disabilities.
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”.
GDi is a New Delhi-based social impact consulting firm. In a mere span of two years, the firm has come to occupy an interesting space that ties philanthropies to government systems. Putting to effective use philanthropic funds, GDi sets up Program Management Units (PMU) within government departments that are run by the brightest minds in the sector. At GDI, we draw the most brilliant minds out there towards the public sector - they lend their time, their expertise, as they immerse themselves within government systems – working hand-and-hand with bureaucracy and political leadership. We bring nuance into big numbers collected using the best of tech, devise solutions for the long haul, making it easier to resolve public problems with precision and empathy. With a wide-ranging presence across six states in India, GDi Partners addresses some of the most pressing social issues faced by society. GDi collaborates with various stakeholders, including government entities such as NITI Aayog and state governments, funding organisations like Open Philanthropy, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), and Michael & Susan Dell Foundation (MSDF), as well as other ecosystem players such as the World Bank and data.org.
The Axis Bank Foundation
Registered as a charitable trust in 2006, Axis Bank Foundation (ABF) works towards making rural communities self-reliant through its Sustainable Livelihoods Program set up in 2011. For the last decade, the Foundation has been addressing the socio-economic and ecological challenges faced in some of the most remote regions in India. Under the program, the Foundation focusses on creating stable livelihoods for rural communities and skill development for rural and semi-urban youth. Axis Bank Foundation’s vision is to create resilient communities, with self-sustaining ecosystems that are managed by the very people they benefit. Every project is designed and implemented according to the varied requirements and aspirations of each community. This is achieved by working with several entities, ranging from NGO partners, government departments and community institutions.
The Hans Foundation
The Hans Foundation, established in 2009, is a Public Charitable Trust that works for the improvement of quality of life for underprivileged communities across India. THF is currently working across states to provide access to quality primary, secondary and tertiary healthcare for rural and marginalized communities. Moreover, THF commits to the empowerment of people with disabilities through helping them lead independent and productive lives in their communities through holistic interventions for physical, intellectual disabilities, and mental health issues enabling them to create a meaningful life for themselves. THF’s signature programs promote an equitable society and good health and wellbeing for all, with a special focus on children, women, and persons with disabilities. The foundation also works for education and livelihood programs for holistic development of the communities where we are significantly engaged