In a country with a population of 2.68 crores differently-abled individuals, who would have thought to run a business merely on sign language and positive attitude? Well, a Bangalore based Business Process Outsourcing (BPO), Vindhya E Infomedia Pvt Ltd has proved that everyone is capable of bringing change. Out of 1600 employees, 62% of them are differently-abled and have been working with the company efficiently since 2006.
This unique company was the brainchild of Pavithra Y Sundareshan along with her husband Ashok Giri D, who now defines her firm as “one big happy family.”
“I wanted to do something for the society and my husband, on the other hand, wanted to do something in commercial line – with Vindhya we have managed to run both parallelly”, said Pavithra while talking to The Logical Indian.
How it started?
She narrated an incident which changed her outlook towards physically challenged people. “One day a young boy on a wheelchair came to my office asking for a job. After going through his profile, I told him to wait for a couple of days for the response and also informed him about the unavailability of any ramps or lifts in the building which can help him climb to the office on the first floor. The boy enthusiastically said that he could prove his ability and asked me to climb stairs upstairs. Then I realised it’s not about physical abilities, it is about willing to work and attitude towards life that counts”, said Pavithra.
The company initiated the movement with two employees now gives employment to more than 1600 people. Communication with more than 100 people with hearing and speech disability was an issue which was solved in no time when a hearing-impaired, who came looking for a job, expressed her willingness to teach Pavithra how to communicate in sign language and in return, asked Pavithra to train her for the job.
The company’s first customer was a small boutique looking for a company to organise their database. Vindhya ran a small pilot project to prove their ability to the company, and from then on, it never looked back. The company through its dedicated hard work proved itself over and over again. Now, Vindhya E Infomedia client list includes Wipro, Videocon DTH and various microfinance companies of repute.
Combatting hurdles together
Pavithra recalled the time when Vindhya was going through a financial crisis in the initial periods. In 2006, before it got its first big breakthrough, the situation was so bad that the company had to ask its employees to take a break. “We even told them that we wouldn’t be able to pay their salaries”, she added.
But the employees refused to leave and decided to work without payments as long as they have a roof on their heads. Every night after 7 pm, employees stayed in a conference room, and people living nearby offered to bring food. She believes that it was the team effort and their love for the company that got them through that tough phase.
Positive attitude is the key
The company has a very basic requirement when it comes to recruitment. “All we look for in our employees are communication skills and ‘can do’ attitude”, remarked Pavithra.
Pavithra’s business and life partner, Ashok during an interview with The Hindu BusinessLine said, “We want to give top-notch training to our employees and best quality services to our clients to ensure that we don’t lose any client. We have not lost a single customer because of delivery in the last 12 years”.
Vindhya not only employs differently abled people but also gives them a sense of pride, independence and responsibility. Why did you choose the company’s name Vindhya? Pavithra answered smilingly, “there are two reasons, first being our daughter’s name and other because Vindhya is a growing mountain”. She added that she wants Vindhya to grow consistently and also, to be as stable and firm as Vindhya mountain is.
Bigger dreams for Vindhya
After running the company successfully in Bangalore, she now aims to set up a bigger campus in Hyderabad especially for differently abled people. “We want Vindhya to be recognized as one of the top companies in India”, proudly said Pavithra while talking to The Logical Indian. Along with the brighter future for Vindhya, she aims to provide employment to more specially-abled people.
She has been one of the winners of “100 women achievers Awards” under the initiatives of the ministry of women and child development and Facebook and was invited to the Rashtrapati Bhavan for the lunch with the President of India. She was chosen and recognized as one of the 12 Transforming Women of India in 2016.
The Logical Indian applauds Pavithra for empowering the differently-abled by not only providing a means of sustenance but also instil a sense of responsibility in them.