A MESSAGE FROM OUR CEO
The year was 2011. I was pursuing my masters at the Delhi School of Economics and I was looking forward to placement season. I was a graduate from St. Stephen’s College, had a good CV and was excited about my first job.
What I didn’t account for was my disability. I was born with arthrogryposis – a rare congenital disorder that meant the muscles in my arms and legs hadn’t fully developed. Due to this disability, I am a wheelchair user and that became my primary identity for interviewers.
I sat for at least a dozen interviews, being rejected the moment I entered the interview room. One interviewer asked if I could sit on my wheelchair for eight hours in a day and another rejected me because they realized they didn’t have a disabled friendly toilet after seven rounds of interviews.
I was initially broken and almost gave up on life. However, with the support of family and friends, I realized that I had been given an opportunity to channelize my misfortune to ensure other Person’s with Disabilities don’t face the same discrimination.
My mother had already been working in the disability sector for a decade. As a counseling psychologist, she counseled parents of children with disability and was also a trained access auditor having audited the Delhi Metro, Supreme Court, Parliament and the Delhi Haat.
I decided to launch the Nipman Foundation along with my mother in 2012.
Globally, the definition of disability has changed from a medical definition to a social definition of disability. As per the social definition, disability exists because of the physical, attitudinal and legal barriers that prevent full inclusion of PwD’s in society.
Our foundation’s main objective is to reduce and gradually work towards removing the barriers that prevent PwD’s from properly flourishing.
We have followed a multi – pronged approach.
The Nipman Foundation Equal Opportunity Awards is a forum through which we’ve managed getting stakeholders together to discusss inclusion, vocational training and employment and recognise institutions following the spirit. This year, Microsoft is our title partner and we are expanding categories to highlight organizations undertaking technological and offline innovations for PwD's along with an award for a disabled entrepreneur. Our objective is to eventual scale these awards to become a national symposium for the Disabled community
We also realise that many disabled individuals in the country face the basic challenge of not having mobility aids like wheel chairs and tri rickshaws to support them and provide basic mobility. Through Wheels for Life we are helping bridge that physical barrier by connecting donors and deserving recipients through a technology platform
We regularly provide consulting services to companies who want to make themselves inclusive to Persons with Disabilities. We also focus on making infrastructure and different arts, music & cultural festivalsaccessible through regularly conducted access audits. We believe seeing and interacting with PwDs at public events break attitudunal barriers.