Pledges raised to empower more than 1000 Persons with Disabilities through employability training

New Delhi, 23rd March 2014: Thums-Up Being Human VEER, an awareness and fundraising campaign on “Unleashing the Inner Potential of Persons with Disabilities” (PwD), culminated its first leg today with an event highlighting the journey of the campaign so far. Launched on 26th January, in partnership with CNN-IBN and American India Foundation (AIF), the campaign came about as an endeavour to create awareness on and address challenges such as inclusive education and employment, skill training and development for PwDs, and advocating for disabled-friendly technology. The campaign has raised pledges worth INR 75 Lacs towards this in the first leg.

The event portrayed stories of several inspirational people who have achieved tremendous success through their hard work and determination, overcoming physical disabilities. These included famed Bharatnatyam and Kathak Dancer and well-known actress Sudha Chandran; paraplegic swimmer Prasanta Karmakar who won a bronze medal at the 2010 Commonwealth games; Lt Gen Vijay Oberoi former Director General of Military Operations and Vice Chief of Army Staff who lost his right leg in the Indo-Pak War in 1965 but chose to soldier on in his regiment — the Maratha Light Infantry and Sminu Jindal, MD of Jindal SAW Ltd. who today leads India’s biggest producer of steel pipes with an annual turnover of $1 billion, despite being wheelchair bound since age 11.

Several challenges being faced by the community and opportunities available for differently abled were brought to light interaction with Actor Salman Khan with leaders from different fields including NGOs, Business Houses, entrepreneurs, sportspersons and others. Several celebrities join in to offer their support to the campaign. The stakeholders came together to recognize the potential amongst the differently abled and how can they all come together to unleash this potential.

Mr. Salman Khan on behalf of Being Human foundation, said, “We started the Thums Up-Being Human Veer initiative to help empower the differently abled by providing them with the right set of skills. This initiative will help over 1000 people with disabilities find employment. We thank everyone involved, for their support.”

Taking forward Thums Up’s toofani philosophy of unleashing the potential within, Campaign VEER has been reaching out to Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) with skill training and employment opportunities and giving a voice to their achievements. Over the last 2-months, the initiative has showcased stories of several Veers who have achieved unparalleled success in their endeavors through a combination of hard work and application of their abilities to the best possible extent.

Debabrata Mukherjee, VP-Marketing & Commercial, Coca-Cola IndiaIndia said, “The brand Thums Up has always believed that heroes are made and not born. We all have the potential to be a hero; it’s just about unleashing that spirit within. Campaign VEER was launched with the same motive to offer people with disabilities a platform to unleash their potential. With support from our partners and donors, I am sure that we will be able to reach out to millions more across India.”

Rajdeep Sardesai, Editor-in-chief, IBN Network,, said, “Every person who has joined and contributed to this initiative has brought a unique strength to it. I believe that people will continue to show support to this campaign and help us cross more milestones.”

Veer has drawn support from people from all walks of life and the stories showcased have touched people across India, many of whom have come forward to support the cause. Donors who have pledged for the campaign include British Asian Trust (BAT) (20,000 pounds), RAGE Frameworks (Rs. 7, 50,000), American India Foundation (AIF) (Rs. 10, 00,000), Coca-Cola India (Rs 20, 00,000) and several individual donors who have contributed nearly INR 10 lacs towards the cause. The series also highlighted detailed discussions on issues related to disability, which have spread nationwide awareness about this cause.

Dr. Hemanth Paul, Country Director, AIF, said, “AIF has always believed in bringing national causes to the forefront of social consciousness and encourages members of society to become active contributors to the cause. It feels wonderful to be able to make meaningful difference in the lives of individuals. We believe AIF carries the dreams and hope of not just the 1000 VEERs but of society who has placed their trust in us. On behalf of AIF, I take this opportunity to thank Thums Up and Being Human and Network 18 for launching this initiative and all those who have helped us reach this milestone. We hope this initiative will grow from strength to strength”

About Campaign VEER

VEER was launched as a collaborative initiative between Thums Up, India’s most iconic soft drink brand, and Salman Khan’s Being Human Foundation, with CNN-IBN and the American Indian Foundation. The campaign has the following goals:

  • To help people change their lens in the way they look at differently abled people and realize the huge talent and potential waiting to be unleashed
  • To celebrate extraordinary stories of successful people with disabilities and inspire others like them to unleash their true potential
  • To demonstrate possibilities, engage stakeholders and raise funds to help American India Foundation provide training to at least 1,000 people with disabilities to make them employable

The campaign was started with the aim of reaching out to more than 1,000 Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) with skill training and employment opportunities and raise advocacy on issues revolving around inclusiveness, employability of PwDs and workplace accessibility

Stories of 100 Persons with Disabilities (PwD), who have succeeded in their respective endeavors on the strength of their self-belief, despite environmental and attitudinal barriers, have been showcased through a 2-month long media campaign.

VEER will address challenges such as inclusive education and employment, skill training and development, and advocating for disabled-friendly technology. Panel discussions with participation from the who’s who from government, corporate, NGOs, policy makers/ think tanks and donors of the campaign are being held to discuss on the way forward to empower the ‘specially-abled’ of the country. Key takeaways from these discussions would be compiled into a ‘Vision Document’ and presented to the government.

VEER aims to sensitize 100 corporates to the issues facing Persons with Disabilities vis-à-vis employability, work place rights, attitudes etc.

The Partners:

Thums Up: The campaign is promoted by brand Thums Up of Coca-Cola India Private Limited. VEER communicates the brand’s positioning of “unleashing the potential”. The brand believes that everyone has inner potential, and if one can garner the strength and take the leap of faith to pursue his/her dreams, success is inevitable.

Network 18: The media partner for the campaign is Television 18, one of the largest media players in India. The campaign will run on TV-18 network’s most popular channels – IBN 7 (top Hindi news channel with 16% market share); CNN-IBN (second largest English news channel with 28% market share) and Colors (amongst top 3 general entertainment channels).

Being Human: The face of the campaign is Bollywood actor Salman Khan, who brings with him huge star power and mass appeal. He is also been very closely associated with the cause and is known for his philanthropic activities, particularly through the Being Human Foundation.

American Indian Foundation: The American India Foundation (AIF) is the strategy and implementation partner for the Campaign. AIF is committed to catalyzing social and economic change in India and building a lasting bridge between the United States and India through high-impact interventions in education, livelihoods, public health, and leadership development. AIF has impacted the lives of more than 1.7 million of India’s poor and aims to reach 5 million by 2018.

ABOUT TV18

The Network18 Group is a media and entertainment company with interests in television, internet, films, e-commerce, magazines, mobile content and allied businesses. Through its subsidiary ‘TV18 Broadcast Ltd.’

[BSE: 532800, NSE: TV18BRDCST], the group operates news channels – CNBC-TV18, CNBC Awaaz, CNBC-TV18 Prime HD, CNN-IBN, IBN7 and IBN-Lokmat (a Marathi regional news channel in partnership with the Lokmat group). TV18 also operates a joint venture with Viacom, called Viacom18, which houses a portfolio of popular entertainment channels – Colors, Colors HD,MTV, SONIC, Comedy Central, VH1, Nick. Nick Jr. and Nick Teen – and Viacom18 Motion Pictures, the group’s filmed entertainment business. TV18 has also forayed into the Indian factual entertainment space through A+E Networks | TV18 (a joint venture between A+E Networks and TV18 Broadcast) and operates HistoryTV18. TV18 and Viacom18 have also formed a strategic joint venture called India Cast, a multi-platform ‘content asset monetization’ entity mandated to drive domestic and international channels distribution, placement services and content syndication for the bouquet of channels from TV18, Viacom18 and other broadcasters. For more information, please log on to www.network18online.com

About Coca-Cola India

Coca-Cola India is one of the country’s leading beverage companies, offering a range of healthy, safe, high quality, refreshing beverage options to consumers. Over the last 20 years, ever since its re-entry in 1993, the company has been refreshing consumers with its beverage products – Coca-Cola, Diet Coke, Thums Up, Fanta, Limca, Sprite, Maaza, Minute Maid range of juices, Georgia and Georgia gold range of hot and cold tea and coffee options, Kinley and Bonaqua packaged drinking water, Kinley Club Soda and BURN. The Company along with its bottling partners, through a strong network of over 2.2 million retail outlets, touches the lives of millions of consumers, at a rate of more than 500 servings per second. Its brands are some of the most preferred and most sold beverages in the country – Thums Up and Sprite – being the top two selling sparkling beverages.

The Coca-Cola system in India has registered 30 consecutive quarters of growth, 19 of them being double digit. It believes in the long term growth potential of the country and this system is committed to invest US$ 5 billion in its operations between 2012 and 2020. The system already provides direct employment to 25,000 people and indirect employment to 150,000 people.

The Coca-Cola system in India is contributing in its own small way to building sustainable communities and reducing its own environmental footprint. Some of our community development programs include the “Support My School” program – a movement for healthy, active, happy schools, the ‘Parivartan’ and ‘Pragati’ retailer training program, Career Development centers to train youth and make them employable, women empowerment program as a part of the global 5BY20 campaign, Unnati – a sustainable mango farming project etc.

For further information on the company’s India operations and its products, please visit: www.coca-colaindia.com.