Transforming Disability Challenges into Opportunities for All, The Story of Puneet Singh Singhal

As Puneet delved deeper into the world of disability, he discovered that his condition extended beyond stammering. In January 2021, he learned that he was struggling with symptoms resembling dyslexia and dyspraxia, conditions that affect reading, writing, motor coordination, and other crucial skills.

Dyslexia is used to describe a learning difficulty to read, write and spell, whereas dyspraxia is the term used to describe a difficulty in motor coordination skills.

Puneet’s awakening prompted him to focus on a vital question: how can we make our buildings, workplaces, and educational institutions accessible to all, including those with neurodivergent conditions such as dyslexia and dyspraxia? While Western countries were making strides in this area, Puneet was determined to adapt and implement these inclusive measures to suit the unique cultural context of India.

In his quest to revolutionize Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility (IDEA) initiatives, Puneet emphasizes three pivotal issues,

  • First, he underscores the need for comprehensive diversity and inclusion beyond gender equality. Puneet challenges organizations to extend their focus to include marginalized groups such as the LGBTQ+ community and the downtrodden.
  • Second, Puneet calls for a shift in language, advocating for the use of inclusive terms that do not inadvertently segregate disabled individuals.
  • Lastly, he emphasizes the importance of open communication within organizations, urging the creation of feedback mechanisms that allow employees to voice concerns without fear of repercussions.

Current projects and challenges

Puneet is actively involved in projects that align with his vision. He is the Community Manager for the Global Network of Young Persons with Disabilities, receiving support from UNFPA, WHO, Microsoft, and GDI Hub.

Under his guidance, the “Accessibility Innovation Challenge” invites solutions to make productive health solutions accessible to young persons with disabilities.

Puneet acknowledges the challenges he faces in advocating for change. He notes that leadership often confuses activists’ efforts with substantial change. In recruitment, the concept of “merit” remains subjective and biased, overlooking candidates’ diverse backgrounds and life experiences.

Despite the hurdles, Puneet finds motivation in even the smallest positive changes, emphasizing the importance of being unbiased listeners who prioritize data and logic in driving meaningful transformations.

Future endeavors

Puneet is currently working with Billion Strong (#WeAreBillionStrong) – a nonprofit organization to unite, elevate and empower the global community of people with disabilities to develop a positive disability identity to come together and create positive change.

Puneet said, “I am working on the messaging, branding and marketing part, where I will amplify the voices from the global south and have stories of disabled people, the LGBTQ community, women, and other marginalised identities and put them in front of the world.”

The aim is to collaborate on a project to amplify the voices of marginalized identities worldwide. By sharing their stories and providing essential resources like funding, mentorship, and toolkits, Puneet hopes to create a more inclusive world.

To conclude, Puneet Singh Singhal’s journey from the world of banking to social change is a testament to the power of personal experiences. His mission to transform disability challenges into opportunities for all is not just a story of one man’s determination; it is a call to action for a more inclusive, diverse, equitable, and accessible world.

Through his initiatives and unwavering dedication, Puneet is turning adversity into a catalyst for positive change, and his impact resonates far beyond the corporate boardrooms he once inhabited.

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