The 2011 Census declares 207.8 lakh households having differently-abled persons in the country, and yet this familiarity with disability is not enough for us to stop discriminating against the People with Disabilities (PWDs).
To prompt a positive change in perception and inclusivity of differently-abled people in society, the initiative ‘Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD),’ was started 10 years ago. To commemorate the journey and milestones achieved along the way, Coca-Cola India partnered with world champion quadriplegic athlete and Padma Shri awardee Boniface Prabhu, and organised the ‘Thums Up VEER Kashmir to Kanyakumari (K2K)’ road expedition in November 2016. The expedition aimed at creating awareness, starting a dialogue on making the country disabled-friendly, train people in sign language and create a movement in favour of inclusivity.
The expedition led to desired results. More than 5000 people got trained in basic sign language skills. Boniface spent a cumulative of more than 55 hours advocating for the rights of Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) and along the 5,430 km-long journey route, more than 50 events were organised to generate awareness.
The significance of this event was not lost on the Prime Minister of India and the government. The Prime Minister invited Boniface Prabhu to meet him and apprise him of the learnings from the expedition.
H. Boniface Prabhu with the PM Narendra Modi and Ishteyaque Amjad
After the expedition and having met the Prime Minister, Prabhu said “Initiatives such as Thums Up Veer are essential vehicles of spearheading change and making India a disabled-friendly nation. Now, backed with the blessings of the PM, I am all set to take my endeavour further to create greater awareness and sensitivity about the cause of PWDs on a larger scale.”
The expedition was supported by American India Foundation, AIESEC, Times Now, Indian Oil and many others. By tying up with more partners and volunteers like Boniface, the Company now aims to take the campaign forward and bring about changes at grass-root levels in society, for the cause of Persons with Disabilities.