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  • Resilient entrepreneurs defy disability, win prestigious NCPEDP-LTIMindtree Helen Keller Awards

    Published on December 9, 2023

    NewDelhi: In the picturesque Kashmir valley a new story has been blooming, quietly yet convincingly. The story of grit, resolve, resilience and the unwavering determination to excel in face of adversities. Meet Sumarty G, whose love for Kashmiri chilies and story of entrepreneurship are making waves. Never allowing her wheelchair to impede her tall will, Sumarty has been a role model for many, inspiring endlessly. She is one of the winners of the 24th NCPEDP-LTIMindtree Helen Keller Awards in the Role Model entrepreneur with disability category.

    Sumarty surmounted all odds of her life without any outside support. From opening a boutique to playing basketball and being awarded multiple times by the Jammu and Kashmir Basketball Association to running her own spice business successfully, she played diverse roles with perfection, and passion. “I am excited to be getting this recognition and wish to use this as an inspiration to scale up my business,” says Sumarty who has about 8 people working with her for this spices business.

    “Helen Keller Awards celebrate an individual’s indomitable will, passion and resilience. For 24 years, the Awards have identified incredible individuals and institutions doing exemplary work of promoting employment, equality and diversity in the workplace. Sumarty and 15 other awardees deserve the finest wishes for being a bacon of change, hope and resilience,” said Arman Ali, Executive Director, National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People (NCPEDP).

    Sumarty’s entrepreneurial prowess shines through her successful venture focused on selling distinctive spices, with the brand name Sadaf Spices, native to the Kashmir valley, notably the renowned Kashmiri red chilli powder. Her story is one of tenacity, blending the cultural richness of Kashmir with the determination to overcome obstacles. Sumarty’s story stands tall as a testament to the indomitable spirit that fuels her journey, making her an inspiring figure in both business and sports.

    Another winner from the same category is Rakhi Pandey from Delhi NCR, the creative force behind Paridhan Boutique. What sets Rakhi apart is her dedication to inclusivity, providing tailored solutions for women with disabilities. Started in 2010, Rakhi expanded her reach to the wider clients in 2020, during Covid times when her business faced a setback, through a strategic collaboration with Needle & Thimble Cloud Tailoring Services.  Rakhi’s story goes beyond the stitches; she’s a wheelchair model and an active participant in marathons, proudly associated with the Eagle Specially Abled Rider’s Group.

    The category of Role Model entrepreneur with disability in the 24th edition of NCPEDP-LtiMindTree Helen Keller Awards has one more inspiring name – Krishnakant Mane from Maharashtra. India’s first visually impaired IT professional and one of the first three in Asia, Mane has launched OnlineKhata with the aim of creating an inclusive and affordable online business ecosystem for micro and small businesses.

    OnlineKhata is a user-friendly online billing cloud-based software designed for micro and small businesses, offering essential accounting features such as invoicing, bill management, record-keeping, and GST filing.  OnlineKhata currently has more than 3,000 active users and is expected to reach over 25,000 by December 2023.

    Ali compliments the resilience and commitment of these winners in ushering positive change. He acknowledged their innovative spirit and dedication to breaking barriers, emphasizing that their achievements stand as a testament to these qualities. Additionally, Ali highlighted the organization’s 24-year commitment to recognizing individuals dedicated to promoting equality and diversity within the employment ecosystem.

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