Role models share their stories of resilience and determination

Ahmedabad, 4 December 2023: To mark the International Day for Persons with Disabilities (December 3), the Adani Group organised Green X Talks where individuals with disabilities, who have conquered multiple barriers with their resilience and dedication, shared their life stories. The programme, held at Adani Corporate House in Ahmedabad on December 4, brought to the fore inspiring personalities who have redefined possibilities in their own ways and made the impossible possible.

Jeet Adani, Director, Airport Business, Adani Group said, “Green X symbolizes the vast potential with differently abled individuals. The colour green represents a world filled with life, symbolizing growth, hope and endless possibilities. X signifies mystery, evolving into a potent symbol of extraordinary talent waiting for acknowledgment and cultivation. It represents the resilience of the human spirit, the determination to overcome challenges, and the strength to carve paths through adversity. At its core, Green X advocates for empowerment and inclusivity, considering each person, regardless of their physical or mental ability, as an integral part of our organization.”

One of the speakers at the event was Ajay Kumar Reddy, captain of the Indian men’s blind cricket team since 2016. He captained the team which lifted the 2017 Blind T20 World Cup and the 2018 Blind Cricket World Cup. Reddy’s performance helped India secure the 2014 Blind Cricket World Cup title as the team chased a formidable target of 300+ against Pakistan in the finals.

Another speaker was Nipun Malhotra, a disability rights activist and social entrepreneur, who pursued a bachelor's degree in economics at St. Stephens in Delhi, overcoming accessibility challenges. He went on to complete a master's in economics at Delhi University. Malhotra is the CEO of Nipman Foundation, a disability rights advocacy organization. He is also the founder of Wheels for Life, a former chair at the disability sub-committee of NITI Aayog, a visiting research fellow at World Enabled and an External Expert, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, BCG. He is the Founder Chair of FICCI's disability subcommittee, a World Economic Forum (WEF) Global Shaper and a member of the CII National Committee.

The event had four panelists who spoke about accessibility and inclusivity at the workplace. Tarun Kumar Vashisth, a professor at Panjab University, is the first Ph.D candidate with visual impairment at IIM-A. His study explores organisation and positive identities in the context of disability, among other issues.

Alina Alam, another panelist, started Mitti Café in 2017 when she was just 23. She has around 400 people working across 35 cafes in several big airports. The company employs people with various kinds of disabilities and has served over 10 million meals so far.

Panelist Dr. Anita Sharma is paralysed from the waist down due to polio. She received her Ph.D in disability and entrepreneurship from IIM-Indore. Founder of “Drive On My Own” Foundation and Inkpothub, she is also a DEI consultant. Sharma sets herself apart by being India's first woman skydiver with disability.

Dr. Bhushan Punani, general secretary, Blind People's Association, and an alumnus of IIM, Ahmedabad, was also part of the panel. He is also VP, International Council for the Education of People with Visual Impairment.

The inaugural performance was by Rashmi Patil. Patil, who has a hearing impairment, obtained an advanced degree in Bharatnatyam because of her sheer passion and dedication. She started learning Bharatnatyam aged 6 and went on to become a national-level dancer. She has participated in beauty pageants and ran a global jewelry business for five years.

The concluding segment included a performance by Ankita Patel, who enthralled everyone with her rendition of classical and popular songs. She is visually impaired and has been singing professionally for the last five years.