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Yum Restaurants, EMC Software among Nipman Equal Opportunity Award winners
New Delhi, December 3, 2015
Yum! Restaurants, the world’s largest fast food restaurant brand, along with IT major EMC Software and Solutions won the coveted Nipman Equal Opportunity Awards here yesterday evening for their immense contribution in providing equal economic opportunities to People with Disability (PwDs).
The awards, instituted by the Nipman Fundation to help create awareness about equal economic and educational opportunities for disabled people in India, were presented at a function at the India Habitat Centre by former Union Minister Shashi Tharoor on the eve of World Disability Day.
The winners were selected from hundreds of applications received from across the country which were then screened and judged by an expert panel headed by Dr Rajiv Kumar, former Secretary General, FICCI, and other notable public personalities including lawyer Ms Karuna Nundy, Mr. K Jawaharlal, Director CSR at CII, Mr Sanjeev Sachdeva, disability activist and Mr. George Abraham, the founding chairman of the World Blind Cricket Council and CEO, Score Foundation.
The three-month long process saw the jury sit through intense discussions to finalise the names of the winners across the categories.
Nipman Foundation partnered with leading consulting firm Ernst & Young (EY), who came on board as the audit partner for the selection process. EY reached out to more than 700 companies in India as part of the process.
Mr Nipun Malhotra, CEO, Nipman Foundation said, “We are extremely pleased to see the enthusiasm with which corporate India participated in the latest edition of Nipman Equal Opportunity Awards. It is heartening to see that every year more companies are opening up to equality by providing job opportunities to people with disability. However, we should remember that only a small percentage of the entire population with disability in India are gainfully employed. The current state is disturbing, but we are hopeful that this situation will improve in the near future.”
Yum! which operates restaurant chains such as KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell in India, was recognised for special initiatives taken to integrate PwDs in their operations.
"Their restaurant chain KFC operates nine special stores with 65 per cent specially-abled employees. They also have 19 restaurants in twelve cities in India which are run by speech and hearing-impaired Team Members. Looking at the success they have demonstrated, Yum! Is now committed to its plan of having 50 such restaurants," a press release from the foundation said.
"At Yum! Restaurants India our mission is Growth with a 'Big' Heart where we want to grow our business along with growth for our people and the communities that we are a part of. Our speech and hearing impaired stores is an initiative to contribute and give back to the community in which we operate. Yum! has unleashed the true potential of these people through this initiative; and we are privileged and proud to be part of the journey of making these special individuals independent and self-reliant. It not only demonstrates our belief in these people, but has also proven to the world that it's not their disability that defines them; it's how they deal with the challenges of the disability” said Ms. Shilpa Sharma, Manager - Public Relations & CSR, Yum! Restaurant.
The second winner, EMC started a conscious effort of hiring PwDs in 2012 as part of their outreach programme, but this later became a successful business model for the entire organisation. EMC now has a dedicated academy ‘Asvas’ which is built specifically for the training of PwDs.
The special jury award winner Vindhya E-Infomedia Pvt Ltd is a one-of-its-kind IT firm to start serving the global and local market by recruiting mainly the differently abled for all its operations in data management, data entry, data processing, data conversion jobs. The IT firm, which began its operations in June 2006 with five PwDs, currently employs over a thousand PwDs, thus becoming one of the largest employers of PwDs in the country.
Meanwhile, international transportation network company Uber Technologies launched a special service – uberAssist – aimed specifically at PwDs in partnership with Nipman Foundation. As part of uberAssist, driver-partners receive specific training on the necessary knowledge and safety requirements of people with different accessibility needs and can accommodate folding wheelchairs, walkers, and collapsible scooters. These driver-partners would be trained and certified by an independent third-party - iCare - that specialises in training
Speaking on the initiative, Mr Gagan Bhatia, General Manager- North, Uber Technologies said, "At Uber, we strive to create transportation options that fit everyone’s needs. This World Disability Day we are pleased to expand transportation options for members of the community with different accessibility needs. Our service uberAssist will allow riders needing an extra hand to request safe and reliable rides at the tap of a button."
As part of this special programme, Uber will help driver-partners gain an understanding of the broad range of riders with disability who will use the uberAssist service. The training includes visible and invisible disabilities awareness including communication tips and etiquette to provide an excellent experience for riders. The training equips driver-partners with the right questions to ask and the right things to do to effectively interact with their riders, the release said.
Nipman Foundation works in the areas of Health, Dignity and Happiness for Persons with Disabilities. It was started by Nipun Malhotra along with his mother Priyanka Malhotra (Managing Trustee). It supports People with Disability get access to wheelchairs and easy financing so that they become self-employed and live an independent life.
The Ministry of Social Justice has collaborated with the Nipman Foundation as a ‘Partner’ to take the Accessible India campaign forward. Nipman Foundation has a team of trained accessibility auditors who have audited and provided recommendations for disability friendly infrastructure including Elections, Delhi Metro, Delhi Haat, Supreme Court and have also worked with the Election Commission and the Indian Railways.
The foundation has executed various projects in association with SIAM and CII. Last year, it launched a disability themed comic book titled ‘Pepper Makes a Special Friend’ in association with Sterling Publishers
Nipun Malhotra, CEO of Nipman Foundation, was born with arthrogryposis (a congenital disorder due to which his muscles have not developed in his arms and legs). Despite having passed out of St. Stephen’s College and the Delhi School of Economics, he faced discrimination in the job market with one company rejecting him due to the lack of a toilet for the disabled after having taken seven rounds of interviews. He went through interviews with a wide ranging number of companies but the results were the same.
He eventually decided to start the Nipman Foundation along with his mother – where through the Equal Opportunity Awards they are recognizing companies employing PwDs and thus making India Inc more inclusive.
In addition, Mr. Malhotra is Executive Director at Nipman Fastener Industries, a leading automotive fastener manufacturing company in India with clients like Hero MotoCorp, Yamaha and Renault Nissan. He is also on the board of Vishwas, a non-profit organisation working in the field of disability and development.
In March 2015, Nipun was denied entry into a South Delhi restaurant due to him being on a wheelchair. He tweeted and spoke up against it forcing the Delhi Government to set up a magisterial enquiry. Later he also successfully lobbied with Zomato to add wheelchair access filters to restaurants. He is also on the advisory panel of OML, ensuring the NH7 Weekender and other events are accessible to PwDs.