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bridging the divide tata group initiatives

“Transformation towards sustainable and resilient society for all”

The 2030 Agenda pledges to “leave no one behind”. Persons with disabilities, as both beneficiaries and agents of change, can fast track the process towards inclusive and sustainable development and promote resilient society for all. Governments, persons with disabilities and their representative organisations, academic institutions and the private sector need to work as a “team” to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) - especially SDG 10 on Reduced Inequalities.

Recognizing the value of corporate action towards creating a more inclusive tomorrow, Tata companies have stepped up in more ways than one to empower those suffering from disabilities either through partnerships with non-profits to reinforce systems, technologies to facilitate learning and development, supporting the differently abled to pursue livelihood opportunities and much more.

Tata Interactive Systems (TIS) has, been using its project management and teaching skills to help children with learning disabilities. The initiative, which started with TIS contributing funds to keep the learning disabilities clinic at the Lokmanya Tilak Municipal General (LTMG) Hospital in Mumbai functioning, has now blossomed into a much broader and deeper engagement. In 2002, Tata Interactive Systems (TIS) took up support of the Learning Disabilitys (LD) community as part of its corporate sustainability programme, supporting various means to ensure that students with LD get their rightful place in the educational system and rediscover the joys of learning. Later, the company established the annual Tata Learning Disability Forum (TLDF), the first platform in India for creating awareness about LD in children and sharing and learning from reputed international and Indian LD experts. Students, teachers, parents and experts from the field of education as well as government officials attend this annual one-day interactive seminar and come together in a unique initiative to give impetus to this cause.

Tata Consultancy Service (TCS) has developed an assistive technology-based application that will enable differently abled children overcome locomotive challenges. Named VHAB, the application aims at creating a positive effect on the mobility of children suffering from cerebral palsy and autism, especially related to improving their stability and balance. With the help of technology - gestures and leap motions sensors and an analytical engine - a group of exercises have been created for hands, legs, palms and multiple limb movements. The exercises are fun and interactive, and scores & progress can be reviewed at each level, providing a sense of motivation that will encourage the children to attempt the exercises repeatedly without compulsion.

People with disabilities are an integral part of Titan’s workforce — employees at the Dehradun factory

Titan Company, since its inception, has provided differently abled employees with equal career opportunities and, at the same time, ensured they are as comfortable at the workplace as anyone else. Titan's differently abled employees include those who are physically challenged, as well as those with hearing, speech or visual challenges. These employees work across the company's plants in positions that are suited to them. They handle assembly operations such as watch packing, working on machines and some are even involved in housekeeping. The management has adopted workplace solutions such as handrails at workstations to make it easier for them and they enjoy the same benefits and career growth opportunities as others in the company. Titan has also engaged closely with organisations who work with the differently abled to help them make the most of livelihood opportunities. As of 2016, Titan Company has employed up to 135 differently abled peopleThe company has begun working to create a formal policy on D&I, and has also taken steps to engage with a renowned NGO to map around 50 positions that will help create work opportunities for the differently abled, along with appropriate workplace solutions.

Tata Global Beverages contributes to community development and rehabilitation of differenly-abled children of plantation workers, through The Shrishti Trust, in Munnar. Built with the intent to empower the specially-abled children of the local tea-pluckers by teaching them how to make fruit preservatives, handmade paper, stationery, natural dyes, and bakery products, Srishti Trust has so far incubated 205 individuals who are now self-reliant. The DARE (Development Activities in Rehabilitative Education) School, an initiative of Srishti, has been ranked 10th in the category of India’s Best Special Needs Schools of 2017. The ranking features as part of an annual ranking of India’s top 1,000 (out of 1.4 million) primary-secondary schools, mapped by Education World.

Once they graduate from school, the children are rehabilitated in the other projects at Srishti — Athulya (the handmade paper and stationery unit), Aranya (natural dye and textile design unit), Nisarga (fruit preserve unit), the Deli (bakery and confectionaries unit). The students — from preschoolers to young adults — are trained according to their challenges and abilities.

Credits:

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