The 9th edition of the NCPEDP MPHASIS UNIVERSAL DESIGN AWARDS was given away at the India International Centre, New Delhi to felicitate those who have contributed to actively promoting accessibility for persons with disability. The awards were given away by Shri. Hardeep Singh Puri– Union Minister of State with Independent Charge in the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs. Fourteen heroes championing accessibility from all over the country received the award.
A deserving winner this year was Vishal Kapoor, Chief Design Officer of Future Enterprise Limited, for making a noteworthy contribution towards making retail premises accessible to persons with disabilities. Accessibility not only means access to physical spaces, such as schools and colleges but also means access to information, technology, transport, services, aids, appliances and so on. Access, therefore, is an issue that cuts across disabilities and sectors and forms the very basis of empowerment of people with disabilities.
He says, “We believe in total equality by enabling better infrastructure for persons with disabilities. Right from the entry into the premises to the entire process of consumer shopping journey, we are adding language and artefacts to support issues dealt by persons with disabilities; be it in the form of entry ramps, ergonomically appropriate wheelchairs and service counters, usage of braille as a part of our communication design, easy in-store accessibility, aptly designed trial rooms and toilets and even to a certain degree accessibility of our products through thoughtful planograms.”
Vishal explained that shopping could be highly intimidating for the disabled, more so, they hardly have any accessibility to most of the shopping centers. Big Bazaar has made over 55 stores accessible to persons with disabilities wherein shopping can be a smooth and joyful experience, without any obstacles. Big Bazaar stores provide a shopping assistant who is trained to communicate with persons with disabilities. All big bazaar stores have been equipped with a priority counter that makes billing easy for the persons with disabilities.
Som Mittal, Chairman of the National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People (NCPEDP) says, “Accessibility is the bedrock of a disabled person’s empowerment. Without basic accessibility, a disabled boy or a girl can’t even go to school, and disabled youth can’t attend college or university. Even if educated or skilled, a job remains a far-fetched dream unless the workforce is barrier-free and one can reach there regarding transportation, etc. No access means no freedom as far as we are concerned,” said Som Mittal the Chairman of NCPEDP.
“When we don’t provide access, we compromise the vast potential of persons with disability; Easy and convenient access to not only public places but also technology, services, and products is what will empower the disabled in the truest sense, “said Dr. Meenu Bhambhani, VP & Head-Corporate Social Responsibility, Mphasis.
ABOUT NCPEDP: National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People (NCPEDP) is a cross-disability, non-profit organization, working as an interface between the Government, Industry, International Agencies, and the Voluntary Sector towards empowerment of persons with disabilities.