Meet The Role Models: Indian Businesses Run By Persons with Disabilities

India has almost 3 crore PwDs of which around 1.3 crore is employable but only 34 lakhs of them have been employed.

2 min read

[This story has been produced as part of #ABillionVoices campaign ahead of #IDPWD2023. Learn more about Accenture's Disability Inclusion initiative.]

December 3 marks the annual observance of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPWD). The theme for 2023, ‘United in action to rescue and achieve the SDGs for, with and by persons with disabilities’, resonates deeply at a time when resilience and unity are imperative for diminishing and bridging the disparity in the employment of Persons with Disabilities (PwDs).

It’s heartening to witness the emergence of role models in recent times who are not only advocating for inclusivity but actively contributing to it. On IDPWD 2023, The Quint and Accenture presents #ABillionVoices, an initiative celebrating the stories and journeys of PwDs who have achieved significant milestones in their lives despite facing challenges. 

Mitti Cafe at the Supreme Court 

The Supreme Court of India, recently witnessed a heartwarming addition—Mitti Café to its premises. Managed entirely by individuals with disabilities, including visual impairments, cerebral palsy, and paraplegia, this cafe is dedicated to promoting inclusivity and providing employment opportunities to those with disabilities. During the Covid-19 pandemic, Mitti Café served an impressive six million meals, demonstrating the impact of its commitment to the cause. The cafe has over 30 branches across India, including Bengaluru International Airport and premises of Wipro, Accenture, and ANZ Bank. 

Accenture's Cafe Arpan 

A report from the market intelligence firm UnearthInsight revealed that India has almost 3 crore PwDs of which around 1.3 crore is employable but only 34 lakhs of them have been employed across the organised sector, unorganised sector, government-led schemes or are self-employed. By providing employment opportunities and a supportive work environment, Accenture has created a safe space with Cafe Arpan where individuals with disabilities can showcase their talents and contribute meaningfully to the workforce.  

In 2015, this cafe started out as a Dabba (tiffin) service with only four members. In January 2020, the Accenture office in Vikhroli approached the establishment to operate an in-house café, to cater to more than 3,000 of their employees. 

Aditi's Corner and the Power of Determination 

When opportunities don’t come to you, you create them. Aditi's Corner is another such endeavour that deserves recognition. Aditi, who runs this café and suffers from Down Syndrome, won a Hellen Keller award in 2019. From taking orders, cooking and bookkeeping to deliveries, maintaining inventory, and bills – Aditi independently manages every aspect of her cafe. 

As we mark IDPWD 2023, it is essential to celebrate these inspiring initiatives that demonstrate the power of collaboration and commitment. Supporting these endeavours and recognizing the profound change can in turn transform the lives of differently abled persons. 

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