~ 127 VEERs in Hyderabad trained with a 100% success rate~

Hyderabad, June 22th, 2015: As part of the Thums Up Being Human VEER campaign 5VEERs who have realized their potential, got the opportunity to meet the Tollywood Star, Mahesh Babu. These VEERS, who have excelled in their fields in spite of their disabilities, inspired the film star and the interaction was an emotional and enlightening experience for both, the VEERs and for Mahesh Babu.

In the first year of the campaign, over 1000 VEERs have received training due to the efforts of the American India Foundation (AIF) and implementation partners. Out of these 1000, 573 have been employed by 147 employers. The 127 VEERs employed in Hyderabad with the intervention of implementation partner, ACE Social Foundation, is a reflection of Thums Up and Being Human’s commitment towards the success of the differently abled in Season-2 of this program. Each of the VEERs present has overcome their shortcomings and excelled exceptionally in their fields through the training that has been provided to them via this initiative. Despite the obstacles they face in life, they have progressed significantly from when they first enrolled in this program undertaken by AIF.

Speaking on the occasion, Mahesh Babu, said, “Despite their disabilities, the VEERS displayed a true ‘Toofani’ spirit and have done exceptionally well for themselves in their respective areas of interest. This initiative is a great opportunity for people with disabilities to move forward and strive towards realizing their full potential. After having met these five VEERS I am sure that there are many others like them that have received similar training and are working hard towards success. It is individuals like this that embody the famous saying ‘Where there is a will, there is a way’ and are an example from which all of us should learn.”

Mr Vishal Khetani, Zonal Vice President, Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages stated that “The philosophy of being passionate and strong is something that drives this program. Through VEER, we want to encourage all the differently abled to unleash their potential, be strong and overcome the barriers they face. We are happy with the achievements of the program in its first year at Hyderabad and are excited about the milestones being set for the second phase. We are working with some great partners like Being Human – The Salman Khan Foundation and AIF and are extremely delighted to now have such eminent partners on board. I congratulate all the VEERs who have overcome their limitation and hope they will inspire many more.”

“Campaign VEER has proved to us that the opportunity of securing roles across the economy is not just an aspiration for PwDs, it is a reality. Going forward, we at AIF remain committed to catalyzing social and economic change in India by providing equal opportunity and access to employment for persons with disabilities, based on a simple belief-it is one’s ability, not disability that defines any individual. The opportunity to meet an eminent personality, Mahesh Babu, is a huge motivation for our VEERs”, said M.A. Ravi Kumar, CEO of AIF.

Campaign VEER aims to address challenges such as inclusive education and employment, skill training and development, and advocating for disabled-friendly technology. With the support of AIF, the campaign is working at imparting vocational training to these individuals and ascertains their requirements so that they can be made job-ready.

About Coca-Cola and Citizenship
The Coca-Cola Company has always placed high value on good citizenship. At the heart of business is a mission statement called the Coca-Cola Promise — “The Coca-Cola Company exists to benefit and refresh everyone that it touches.” This basic proposition means that the company’s business should refresh the markets, protect, preserve and enhance the environment and strengthen the community. Coca-Cola India provides extensive support for community programs across the country, with a focus on education, health and water conservation. For further information on Company’s India operations and its products, please visit www.coca-colaindia.com

About AIF
The American India Foundation is committed to disrupting poverty and catalyzing social & economic change in India, building a lasting bridge between the United States and India through high-impact interventions in education, livelihoods, public health, and leadership development, with a particular emphasis on empowering girls and women to achieve gender equity. Working closely with local communities, AIF partners with NGOs to develop and test innovative solutions and with governments to create and scale sustainable impact. Founded in 2001, at the initiative of President Bill Clinton following a request from Prime Minister Vajpayee, AIF has impacted the lives of more than 2 million of India’s poor and aims to reach 5 million by 2018. Learn more at www.AIF.org

About Being Human – The Salman Khan Foundation
Being Human – The Salman Khan Foundation is a registered charitable trust set up in 2007. It works in the areas of education and healthcare for the underprivileged.