- Announces the completion of the Thums Up VEER Kashmir to Kanyakumari road expedition for PWDs led by Padma Shri awardee and quadriplegic world champion Boniface Prabhu.
- With the support from partner American India Foundation (AIF), trains more than 5,000 people in basic sign language.
- Advocates for the inclusion of sign language as one of the official languages of the country.
Kanyakumari, Tamil Nadu, India
Coca-Cola India is celebrating the 10th anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), this week. In keeping with its belief that Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) only need an opportunity and the right platform to express themselves, the Company had partnered with Boniface Prabhu – Padma Shri awardee and a world champion quadriplegic athlete – to conduct the Thums Up VEER Kashmir to Kanyakumari (K2K) road expedition, last month. The Company today announced the successful completion of this month long road expedition at Kanyakumari today. This expedition covered 5,430 kms, participating in more than 50 events to create awareness and sensitize people to the cause of Persons with Disabilities (PWDs). It trained more than 5,000 people in basic sign language skills and spent more than 55 hours canvassing and advocating for the rights of PWDs.
Earlier in the year, Coca-Cola India, jointly with Infosys Founder Shri N R Narayanmurthy had petitioned the Prime Minister’s office and the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment to make sign language, an official language of the country. The Company had also dedicated the 2016 edition of the eponymous Limca Book of Records to the cause of PWDs, recognizing their feats and achievements. Coca-Cola India in partnership with AIF and Hans Foundation, already runs the VEER program, which trains PWDs in various skills to make them employable. This program has already trained 3,000 PWDs.
Upon completion of the expedition at Kanyakumari, Boniface Prabhu said, “This journey has been an experience of a lifetime. Along the way, I have met people who have accomplished so much despite their disabilities that I feel humbled. I have also met people who are willing to give their time, money and expertise to work for the cause of PWDs. The most revealing to me has been Coca-Cola’s footprint in the welfare and wellbeing of PWDs and communities at large. From training PWDs through VEER, to educating children through their Support My School program, to training retailers through Coca-Cola University, they are playing the role of a positive catalyst. By enabling me to undertake this 5,000 KM road expedition from Kashmir to Kanyakumari, they have played a huge role in making India ‘accessible’. It is now my wish to meet the Hon’ble Prime Minister and apprise him of my experience during this trip and also offer some suggestions that will help India become more accessible”
Boniface Prabhu and Thums Up will also make a claim to enter the Limca Book of Records, having completed the 5,000 KM road expedition, completed entirely by a quadriplegic.
Congratulating Boniface Prabhu, Mr. Debabrata Mukherjee, Vice President, Marketing, Coca-Cola India, said, “We are glad that Boniface led the Thums Up VEER K2K road expedition as he is an inspiration for many VEERs in India. The expedition started a month back with the aim to help integrate PWDs into the mainstream. We believe that this special mission has been able to spread awareness about making India accessible for PWDs, providing a barrier-free environment for specially-abled and giving equal opportunities to bring them to the mainstream. I am filled with joy and pride as I see Boniface Prabhu’s pictures adjacent to the Thiruvalluvar statue in Kanyakumari. There is no better feeling that completing a journey and achieving one’s mission.”
Thums Up VEER K2K expedition aimed at :
- Promote and spread the use of sign language in India.
- Understand the aims and aspirations of the differently-abled with a view to influence public policy which is beneficial for them.
- Create a platform for exchange of ideas and best practices between PWDs.
- And motivate and inspire the specially abled to unleash the potential within them.
The expedition was supported by Being Human Foundation, American India Foundation, AIESEC, Times Now, Indian Oil, Hindustan Coca-Cola and several others.
About Thums Up VEER program
Thums Up along with Being Human and American India Foundation launched VEER, a Campaign focused on unleashing the potential of the differently abled people in our country. 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 its partners, the campaign is working at imparting vocational training to these individuals and ascertains their requirements so that they can be made job-ready. Hans Foundation has joined hands of the campaign a strategic partner.
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
The American India Foundation 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, 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 suggestion from Prime Minister Vajpayee, AIF has impacted the lives of 2.5 million of India’s poor and aims to reach 5 million by 2018-19. Learn more at http://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. www.beinghumanonline.com