When we started Panorbit, one of the common grounds that got us cofounders together was our Social awareness. We understood the importance of money but we firmly believed money is not everything. We always wanted to run this Capitalistic setup in a socially aware way.
The journey started with a call from “The Vilas Nayak”. We worked with Vilas to build his website. Vilas Nayak referred us to Mr. Ferose VR, Senior Vice President of SAP Labs who wanted a personal blog. We went to SAP Labs to meet the assistant of Ferose and this is where we heard about Inclusion … first time. We developed the ferosevr.com website in short period of time.
Our first meeting with Ferose was set up and honestly speaking, we were pretty nervous to begin with. We were trying to be formal and what you call “professional”. We had a good half an hour meet with Ferose. He was friendly and a very good orator. Within minutes, we were sitting there with Ferose, chatting as long lost friend. He introduced us to “India Inclusion Summit”, a platform that brings awareness and drives inclusion of specially abled people at Corporates, Schools, Policy making bodies, NGO’s and Parent Associations. For starters, we just had vague idea of Inclusion. Even though I had met a few specially abled people in the walk of my life, I never had a personal experience or a connect. The maximum I would have done was to help specially abled people to cross the road. I never knew them personally. It did not require for me to know anybody personally. Unfortunately or fortunately, this is the hard truth.
This is how we started our experiments with Inclusion. We met Ashwin and Bharath. Ashwin is the first Indian engineering graduate with Cerebral palsy. The story of Ashwin and Bharath is a story of a mother and her fight to make a “vegetable” (yes the doctor told her that she has given birth to a vegetable) into an independent human being. This is a story of a friend who dropped out of his college when he was eighteen, to help his friend become an engineer. This is a story of that little man, who never gave up, against all odds. A biologist whom I follow on Quora once said “what makes us, Human Beings such a strong species, is our endurance. Chop off all our limbs, we survive. Paralyze us, we survive. No species has such an endurance”. Ashwin’s is a true story of Human Endurance.
While we were listening to all the personal stories and making friends, we had made a unanimous decision to work with India Inclusion Summit (IIS) without any profit and consider it as our CSR activity. As a start up company, Panorbit does not fall under the government rule of 2% CSR. We had just started. There was absolutely zero cash. We decided to help build websites and make videos for the summit and the movement with zero profit. We conveyed the same to Ferose and other members. As a new startup it is very difficult to manage our expenses. So we asked to reimburse the expenses that we have incurred. We worked closely with the IIS core team and Allegis, another MNC that supports this mission. Allegis asked us to quote fairly but we persisted with zero margin.
A wise man once said, “What you give is what you get”
This act of giving, the decision of not making profit here, the thought of running a Capitalistic setup in a socially aware way, opened doors to new opportunities.
We have worked with SAP on a project. We are one of the goto vendors for creatives and videos at Allegis. As a matter of fact, this very path led us to Varshaa ma’am who is helping us shape our organisation and make it a success story.
This journey has helped me personally in a great way. Meeting Sandeep, a visually impaired standup comedian, was an amazing experience. The ability to laugh at yourself and not get offended can take you places. I learnt this from Sandeep. Knowing Priyanka, one of the most cheerful girl I have met in life, was refreshing. She is an amazing cook and a dancer. Priyanka works as a compliance manager in a multi-national company. She is visually impaired. She taught me to see colours in darkness. We all have amazing dreams. “Dream big; aim for the stars”, a wise man once said. Ashwin’s dream is to “Stand on his own legs without any support”. This dream seems impossible, but I can see it happen every day. Ashwin taught me to see happiness in every step of my life.
As I type this, my cofounder is busy setting up a crowd funding campaign page for the fellowship program run by India Inclusion Summit. In just one and a half year, “a summit” became “our inclusion summit”. Visit the page http://indiainclusionsummit.com. Talk about inclusion. Spread the word. Create awareness. Small things matter.