DEN continued to play an instrumental role in changing perceptions of people with disabilities and raising awareness about the contributions they make inside and outside of Dow. In collaboration with other ERGs, DEN hosted global educational interactive sessions that expanded people’s understanding of disability – from the visible to the invisible – and how everyone can be an ally.
The COVID-19 pandemic disproportionately impacted people living with disabilities in several ways. For India’s ~200 million people with a disability, COVID-19 vaccines offered hope of both protecting themselves against the virus and regaining their livelihoods. However, they faced a particularly dire situation as the country experienced record-breaking cases of COVID-19 and additional barriers accessing vaccination centers.
DEN and ADN partnered to raise funds for the Adventures Beyond Barriers Foundation (ABBF). The donations supported allies and volunteers who took on the complex challenge of facilitating vaccinations for people with disabilities in India. The money raised helped ABBF volunteers educate people with disabilities on the vaccine, register them for priority slots at vaccination centers and organize transportation to their appointment.
As of May 2021, Sudhir Shenoy, senior vice president of EQUATE and DEN ally, has raised enough money to impact 4,824 lives in India.
Pietro Sanchini, commercial support specialist, said, “In this moment of isolation when we can’t touch, it is as if we are blind a second time. But Dow has been supporting us. I have daily meetings with my team. I feel they are close, and I use technology to hear their voices, even though they are far away. At Dow, we have reinforced the importance of an information system that is accessible to everyone. Without this system of integration and interaction, I would be totally isolated from the world and unable to perform my duties. Having this support from Dow has been paramount for me to feel productive and not isolated. Through this experience, I have learned something that I will carry throughout my life: We learn from our differences, and our differences make us better.”