Svayam Chairperson and Jindal SAW MD gives a stirring message of hope, talks business opportunities at Washington summit for start-up owners
NEW DELHI, April 26, 2022: Jindal SAW Ltd Managing Director Sminu Jindal addressed thousands of entrepreneurs from all over the world at the Global Leadership Conference (GLC), the flagship by-invitation-only event of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) on 25 April in Washington, DC. She was the only Indian leader among the select 16 mainstage speakers at the event.
Jindal, who is also the Founder Chairperson of accessibility organisation Svayam, was invited to share her inspirational journey as the first woman in a wheelchair in the steel, oil, and gas sector. Speaking at the event, she said: “Accessibility strikes a deep chord in my soul because it’s misunderstood. Accessibility is a solution. It’s a trillion-dollar economy that’s waiting to happen.”
Accessibility is hope. Hope is priceless. It’s worth it for all of us to make it possible.Sminu Jindal
With the focus on smart cities and new avenues of revenue generation, accessibility is the way forward, she said. Citing the millions left out of the economy, whether as part of the workforce or as buyers of services, due to lack of accessibility, Jindal spoke of the opportunity waiting to be tapped. Building a case for start-up business models built around accessibility, she called it the financial future of a world facing an increased number of people with reduced mobility.
There are 138 million elderly in India, set to rise to 194 million by 2031, and 319 million by 2050. The 67,385 daily birth figures indicate the number of pregnant women at any given point in the country. At 21.9 million, the disabled make up only 2.1% of the population, although the figures are from the 2011 Census. “Accessibility is hope. Hope is priceless. It’s worth it for all of us to make it happen,” Jindal urged. The four-day GLC ended on Tuesday, 26 April. The US-based EO is a high-quality support network of 15,600+ leaders across 61 countries.Advertisementsabout:blankREPORT THIS ADPosted in Accessibility in public infrastructure, Barrier Free, barrier free public buildings, Economy, Entrepreneurs, Entrepreneurs’ Organization, Motivational Talk by Ms. Sminu Jindal, Sminu Jindal, Svayam | Leave a comment
New Delhi | 19 Dec. 2020
“I don’t want to use my walker in public. What people will think about me?”
“I will not step out of my home as people mock me due to my wheelchair.”
“My reading glasses don’t look good. I will go to the party without it as people always judge me when I wear it.”
These statements are so common with people who need assistive devices or mobility equipment but are shy from doing so due to society’s prohibitive outlook towards these devices. We see people’s inhibitions on using eyeglasses, hearing aids, walking aids and wheelchair as they don’t want to face the unsettling comments and inconvenient eye gazes.
People find it tough to be ready psychologically and emotionally and admit to themselves that they have a medical condition or old age. To be forced to use a cane, a walker, a brace, or a wheelchair is seems like a physical manifestation that we are weak and may be approaching our last days or our bodies are slowing down, or failing. We simply have a difficult time accepting the truth of that fact of life. They think using an assistive device will make them look ‘bechara’ (unfortunate) in front of the world. This pessimistic thinking keeps them indoor and away from many fruits of life that await them if they step out. Even if they have to use a cane, they do it with heavy heart and with dejection. It becomes a love-hate relationship.
To break this myth and shatter the stigma, Svayam ran a campaign ‘Use Your Assistive Devices #WithPride’ during 13 Sep. 2020 – 18 Dec. 2020.
Talking about the campaign, Ms. Sminu Jindal, Founder-Chairperson, Svayam, said, “We think about what people say more, and consequently ignore our own safety and comfort. Shouldn’t these attitudes and prejudices go now, for they are wrong and twice as harmful? We had launched #WithPride campaign to encourage people to shed their inhibition and stop bothering about what the world would say. After all, it is their lives and who are others to decide what they should do or not do. Assistive devices are not ‘shame’; they are empowerment. That is the core message of the #WithPride campaign.”