India is home to over 268 million blind and disabled people, according to the 2011 Census. Every day of their lives can be challenging at the best of times, but the global pandemic has further increased their vulnerabilities.
At Uber, we’re committed to helping the blind and disabled persons overcome their challenges so that they can develop their potential to the full. As a part of this vision, we’ve partnered with the National Association for the Blind (NAB), Delhi, to facilitate 12,000 free rides, worth over INR 25 Lacs.
This partnership will benefit the blind, low vision and other disabled persons, as well as their caregivers and teachers. Valid from October to December 2020, our partnership will unlock their safe mobility access to educational and training institutes as well as work places in eight cities: Delhi, Bangalore, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Lucknow, Jaipur, Chennai, and Kolkata. In each of these cities, the partnership will be implemented in close collaboration with the local chapter of NAB.
Over the last four decades, NAB has transformed the lives of 80,000+ visually impaired persons. Their services include technology enabled Inclusive School Education for the Blind, Digital Literacy and Advanced Computer Training Courses, Centre for Multiple disabilities for Multisensory Impaired/Deaf-Blind Children, Assistive Technology Helpline, Digital and Talking Book Library, Braille & Large Print Book Production and more.
Speaking about the partnership, Prashant Ranjan Verma, General Secretary of the National Association for the Blind, said, “We are delighted to partner with Uber India to facilitate safe and convenient rides for the blind and multi-disabled persons, their caregivers and teachers. The Covid-19 pandemic has severely impacted the lives of people with disabilities. Visually impaired persons cannot avoid touch and cannot maintain physical distancing in its true sense. When blind persons travel in public transport, they are at high risk since inadvertently they are likely to get close to fellow commuters. We are thrilled that with Uber’s support, such risks can be greatly minimised and opportunities for education and vocation can be unlocked.”
Since the outbreak of the pandemic, we have launched multiple initiatives to support local authorities, civil society organisations, State Governments as well as Chief Minister’s Offices.
As a part of these, we partnered with CHILDLINE 1098 recently to provide 30,000 free rides to their first responders and child care professionals for reaching and attending to children in distress. Earlier, we also partnered with HelpAge India to provide free rides to underprivileged elderly people and to Robin Hood Army, for one of the largest food relief efforts by civic society.
We also facilitated over 280,000 free rides to the National Health Authority (NHA) as well as various city and State Governments across the nation for transporting thousands of frontline healthcare workers and volunteers. These free rides were a part of the larger global commitment made by Uber to donate 10 million free rides and food deliveries to healthcare workers, seniors, and people in need.