Venue: Sir Mutha Venkatasubba Rao Concert Hall 
Harrington Road, Chennai

Mariazeena Johnson, Pro chancellor, Sathyabama Institute of Science & Technology(Deemed to be University)
Dr. Vinod Surana,CEO & Managing Director, Surana & Surana International Attorneys
Rajiv C Lochan, MD & CEO, The Hindu group
Abhaya Srisrimal Jain,Chairman,LifeCell International Pvt. Ltd.
Radhamohan,Film Maker
Latha Krishna,Executive Director,Krishnaswamy Associates Pvt. Ltd.

The event...
Chennai, 23rd February 2019: Diversified FMCG Conglomerate, CavinKare Pvt Ltd and National NGO Ability Foundation, today honored 5 remarkable achievers with disabilities at the 17 th , Edition of Cavinkare Ability Awards 2019. Held at Sir Mutha Venkatasubba Rao Auditorium, the award function recognised and showcased exemplary success and of people triumphs of people with disabilities.

The evening kick started with an invocation by Mrs. Srilekha Parthasarathy. Bhavna Balakrishnan was the host for the evening.

The evening's cultural component was a scintillating Piano recital by Nithila, a student of Sri Surojeet Chatterji of A. R Rahman’s K.M. Music Conservatory.  A person with disability herself, it is also a point to be made that her disability is of little consequence and has not stood in the way of her dreams and aspirations.

What then followed was a veritable array of outstanding awardees, who inspired and stimulated the entire audience at the hall. Challenging status quo, these five star achievers of this year, set an inspiring mood for the evening with their power packed deeds and speech. Enthralling the audience with their boundless energy and confidence, the outstanding awardees shared their life journey vividly. The evening ended on a high-note with both the recipients of the awards as well as the audience leaving as inspired and empowered individuals.

In its 17 year journey, the Cavinkare Ability Awards has recognized admirable achievements of people with disabilities. Over 65 awardees have stood testimony for breaking stereotypes and challenging the mindset of the society towards disability.

Commenting on the occasion, Mr. CK Ranganathan, Chairman and Managing Director – CavinKare said, “Today as we step into a new year of Ability Awards, bringing into limelight five more achievers our hearts are filled with pride and happiness. This award over the years has become a landmark for grit, courage and desire to achieve great heights by overcoming barriers steadily. We are happy to be celebrating the positive spirit of these achievers and hope to inspire many through them.”

Said Ms. Jayshree Raveendran, Founder & Honorary Executive Director, Ability Foundation, “Way back in 2003, when we brought out the first edition of the Awards, I remember saying that there are more role models among persons with disabilities than anywhere else. Today, seventeen years hence, I reaffirm and reiterate this statement. The kind of things we witness year after year, with each one of our recipients, has been nothing short of breathtaking and awe inspiring. And I am really proud and honoured to have played a role, however small, in bringing this to the fore and in furthering their path to success.”

The Awardees

K R Raja


BHARGAVI V DAVAR Pune, Maharashtra
Bhargavi V Davar, Ph.D., comes from a family of users of psychiatric services in India, who have experienced violence and abuse within the system. She works with a strong identity as a survivor, having made conscious choices not to opt for psychiatry. Having been exposed to mental hospitals, shock treatment, confinement, etc. since childhood, she is passionate about systematically addressing the human rights gaps within the mental health system in India. She started the Bapu Trust for Research on Mind and Discourse, Pune, in 1999, to give public vision and visibility to user/survivor-centred mental health advocacy. She has developed several critical projects with high policy impact. She is a known figure in the disability sector and a forerunner in regional and national level campaigns for human rights in mental health.


DANISH MAHAJAN Shahpur Kandi , Punjab
Danish Mahajan hails from a small village in Pathankot district. His voice and vision, however, reverberate across the globe. Getting over personal trauma of going blind as an adolescent and the consequent breakdown in education, Danish Mahajan rose, like a phoenix to make a career for himself. Recognising the void in media attention on disability issues and programming for people with disabilities, he spearheaded the launch of the pioneering, 24X7 online radio service, Radio Udaan. Almost all RJs of Radio Udaan are visually impaired. Today, Radio Udaan has become a virtual lifeline for blind persons across the world, giving them access to news, discussions on disability issues, chat shows, expert-speak, screen reader software training, book reviews, and more.


VENKATACHALAM M Gudiyatham, Tamil Nadu
Venkatachalam M is one of India's outstanding para athletes. Overcoming the trials and tribulations of a road accident which not only left him with a severe disability but also claimed the life of his sister, with grit and determination, he went on to become a trailblazer in sports. Hailing from the small town of Gudiyatham in Tamil Nadu, earning his bread-and-butter from a small mobile phone recharge shop, his fantastic feats in sports include several gold and silver medals at the 2018 International Para Games held in Thailand. Not content with sports, Venkatachalam also campaigns to raise awareness on disability rights and on the importance of sports and hassle-free access for people with disabilities.


Major Devender Pal Singh is India's first ever blade runner. The injuries he sustained during the Kargil war left him an amputee, besides partial hearing impairment and several other devastating injuries all over his body. Undeterred, he found a new calling in marathons. He has completed 26 half-marathons so far. Determined to shore up the attitudes of people with disabilities and the wider society towards disability, he founded 'The Challenging Ones' (TCO) that makes marathons a platform and a tool for perception building, besides nurturing para athletes. TCO members who are flung far and wide, across the country, also function as a peer support group for persons who undergo amputation. To Major Devender Pal Singh goes the credit of the massive and unique SwachhAbility Runs.

AKSHAY BHATNAGAR Jaipur, Rajasthan

Akshay Bhatnagar is perhaps the first and only graduate with autism from Rajasthan so far. He overcame challenges such as speech impairment and epileptic attacks, besides stiff resistance to his pursuit of academics right through school and college. Undeterred by these obstacles, he petitioned with the Commissioner (Disability), Government of Rajasthan and secured admission in a college affiliated with the University of Rajasthan. He won the Highest Academic Award for securing second position in B.A. in the entire college. He followed it up with a diploma in computers, cleared the competitive exam and works at Rajasthan University Library.

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