Helen Keller Awards

Logo of NCPEDP Logo of Helen Keller Award Logo of MindTree


This year we celebrate the 20th edition of the NCPEDP- Mindtree Helen Keller Awards. The story of the Helen Keller Awards started in 1999 as a result of the findings of a survey conducted of the Top 100 Companies of India by the National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People (NCPEDP). The results showed that the average percentage of employment of people with disabilities was as follows: in the public sector: 0.54 percent; in the private sector: 0.28 percent; and in the multinationals: 0.05 percent. While the situation has improved to some extent in the past decade and a half, we are still not even close to covering half the percentage of persons with disabilities living in the country.

The objective of the NCPEDP Helen Keller Awards was to start a discourse on equal opportunities for persons with disabilities in the area of employment at a time when no one was even thinking about it. Organisations and employees with disabilities would become brand ambassadors for the cause of employment of persons with disabilities and take the momentum forward and role models would be identified and celebrated in an attempt to motivate and encourage others. Over the past 19 years, these Awards have come to be recognised as the most prestigious Indian benchmark for honouring people and organisations which have been working towards promoting employment opportunities for people with disabilities.

The Awards are given under 3 categories:

  • Category A: Role Model Disabled Person

    Disabled persons from within the disability sector and outside who have been active as ambassadors of the cause of employment for disabled people and are a positive role model for others.

    1. M Ummul Khair, Chennai
      Ummul Khair is a registered lawyer with the Bar Council since 2017. Till the age of 21 she was at home, without education. Having a degree from NIOS, which isn’t acceptable to register with Bar Council made her challenge the same in court. She won the case despite all odds to make her dream come true. She currently works in Disability Legislation Unit (DLU) in the area of advocacy, inclusion, employment, education, policymaking, and creating awareness of RPWD Act, on accessibility for Madras High Court and Bus Rapid Transport. She has also set up a Legal Aid Cell for persons with disability under State Legal Services Authority which has helped to sensitise many lawyers and judges.
    2. Aditi Verma, Mumbai
      Aditi Verma runs a café at Navi Mumbai—Aditi’s Corner- she handles the sales, daily stock inventory, ordering of materials and client coordination. While working at her parent’s office, an idea struck Aditi’s mind, of delivering tea to offices. This thought sprouted ‘Aditi’s Corner’, a café run by Aditi and two support staff. She manages the café and daily influx of customers on her own. Disability did not deter her energy to be independent and confident. She hopes to eventually make this café a place wherein she could train people with special needs and motivate them to become self-reliant. She believes that support from one’s family makes a huge difference in a child’s self-growth.
    3. Sriram Parthasarthee, Mumbai
      Shriram Parthasarathy leads the social media practice for Microsoft India. Coupled with passion for inclusive technology and part of the Disabilities Employee Resource Group (ERG), he is instrumental in building thought leadership and awareness across the 9000+ employees across different business groups at Microsoft India. He ensures 100% accessibility of all Microsoft India websites, social media content and video assets.
    4. Vineet Saraiwala, Mumbai
      Vineet Saraiwala plays a pivotal role in making retail stores accessible for everyone with modified infrastructure, hiring, training, sensitization and running unique campaigns for mainstreaming inclusion on 100 million+ shoppers with disabilities. He also leads the entire process of training and sensitization of 30000 employees and also the hiring of persons with disabilities and skilling programs for people with intellectual disabilities.

  • Category B: Role Model Supporter of Increased Employment Opportunities for Disabled People

    Individuals from within the disability sector or outside who have contributed substantially to the cause of promoting employment opportunities for disabled people over an extended period of time.

    1. Alina Alam, Bengaluru
      Alina Alam is the founder of Mitti Café which is a chain of cafes that is run and managed by adults with physical and intellectual disability. As part of its livelihood development initiative for the economic independence and dignity of persons with disability, Mitti provides training, employment and enterpreneruship opportunities for adults with disability through creation of cafes within instituional spaces. Majority of her staff is from lower economic social background who have either dropped out, never attended school or attended special school.
    2. Avinash Dugar, Jamshedpur
      Hailing from Jharkhand, started La Gravitea (tea museum) which hires and grooms boys and girls with deafness. He observed their strength and developed his own model of brigning them into mainstream, empowering them with job insitlling confidence and enterprenurial skill. He also started a ‘BouTeaque’ run by deaf women wherein old and discarded clothes are re-stitched for kids.
    3. Surender Singh, Delhi
      Surender Singh has been working with Muskaan for the last 17 years with key focus on skilling youth with Intellectual/Developmental Disability (IDD) towards mainstream employment. During the last 6 years he has worked directly with corporates, to train and place IDD candidates in their organizations. He conducts sensitization/re-sensitization sessions with their employees as well as manage daily issues for the IDD employees. The outcome of the above is that these IDD youth are employed by these companies as a part of their HR strategy and in a sustainable manner.

  • Category C: Role Model Companies/NGOs/Institutions

    Organisations from the disability sector or outside who have shown their commitment towards promoting equal employment opportunities for people with disabilities.

    1. The Association of People with Disability (APD), Bengaluru
      APD is one of the pioneer organizations with significant contribution towards the disability sector. They provide comprehensive support, address multiple disabilities, and nurture the ecosystem to facilitate inclusion as per UNCRPD and RPD Act, 2016. APD does identification of persons with disability- analysis, preparation of persons with disability for comprehensive skills training and job opportunities, referrals and connections. Their area of work includes Early Intervention, Inclusive Education, Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) Rehabilitation, Livelihood, Disability Rehabilitation, and Community Mental Health Program.
    2. Vishal Mega Mart, Gurgaon
      In 2012 Vishal Megamart started a program called, ‘Udbhava’, under which they started employing people with disability in stores. The program was designed to provide employment opportunities as they wanted to mainstream them without discrimination. Over the last 7 years they have had an increase in number of people with disabilities employed—from 21 in 2011 to 750 in 2019. They also have an Equal Opportunity Policy as a part of their code of conduct.
    3. Infosys, Bengaluru
      Infosys launched the Practice Guidelines for the inclusion of people with disability across their organisation. These guidelines articulate the responsibilties of departments and individuals in crafting and implementing nurturing ecosystems for their effective integration. Infosys was one of the founding members of Business Disability International (BDI), a unique global business consortium working for the mutual benefit of business, people with disabilities, and the societies and economies they influence. Infosys adheres to equal opportunity policy and also has a liason officer for the same.
    4. Subros Limited., Manesar
      Subros Limited conducted a Job Mapping Survey by FICCI and identified 10-12 areas where they can recruit people with different disabiltiees. So far, they have recruited around 4% which is 47 people with disabilities from total manpower. They have tied up with 8-10 agencyies/NGOs for recruitment of people with disabiltiy. They have an Equal Opportunity Policy and a Liason officer.
    5. Sense International India, Ahmedabad
      Sense International India’s aim is to provide information, guidance, support and training needed along with being committed to empowering persons with deafblindness and their families by raising awareness and campaigning for rights, opportunities and services. They are working with 22 States of India through a network of 59 partner organizations supporting over 78,000 children and adults with deafblindness in India. During network meetings, one of the consistent and permanent topics has been employment for individuals with deafblindness. Sense India provides capital support to selected individuals after their vocational training to enable them to start their own enterprise.

Given away every year on 2nd December - the eve of International Day of Persons with Disabilities, the NCPEDP Helen Keller Awards since 2016 are being supported by Mindtree Limited, a company passionate about creating equal employment opportunities and an enabling work environment for persons with disabilities.

For any queries, please contact us at

Tel: 011-26221276 / 26221277 / 49122868

Email: secretariat@ncpedp.org / secretariat.ncpedp@gmail.com


Registered in 1996, the National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People (NCPEDP) is the country’s premier cross disability, not-for-profit organisation working as an interface between Government, Industry, International Agencies and the Voluntary Sector towards empowerment of persons with disabilities. Its mandate is simple – to encourage employment of disabled people, increase public awareness on the issue of disability, empower disabled people with knowledge, information and opportunities and ensure easy and convenient access to all public places. NCPEDP works on six core principles, also called the six pillars of the organization, namely:

  1. Education
  2. Employment
  3. Accessibility
  4. Legislation/Policy
  5. Awareness/Communication
  6. Youth

About Mindtree

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