K is for Kanchi: Unleashing The Abilities Of People With Disabilities

Kanchi is a social enterprise that works to unleash the abilities of the one billion people in the world with a disability.

Below are excerpts from its website. You can discover more via the following link.




Kanchi is a not-for-profit disability organisation that works to change mindsets and behaviours

We do this by creating initiatives that influence business and media leadership. Our work is grounded in the Disability Business Case.

The organisation was established in June 2000 by Caroline Casey, a visually impaired social entrepreneur, as part of a major fundraising initiative involving Caroline embarking on a 1000km trek across India on an elephant named Kanchi.

People with disabilities are amongst the most excluded members of society, driven by stereotypes of pity, charity and deficit.

11 years ago, there was a gap. Nobody was talking ability. Fewer recognised that people with disabilities were valuable to business.

We believed that if we could get businesses seeing the value of disability, society would naturally follow. Kanchi was born.

The organisation was originally called The Aisling Foundation. The name Aisling means dream or vision in Gaelic but it did not travel well.

Pronounced “ailing”, outside Ireland, Aisling not only loses its meaning but brings attention to the negative thinking the Kanchi team are trying to change.

Our history has made us who we are and our story began with an elephant called Kanchi. To us, Kanchi is a symbol of change, vision, possibility, never giving up, looking at things differently and individual potential.

So in 2008 we chose Kanchi as our new name. Kanchi leads a new way of thinking; one that promotes the value of people with disabilities to society.

We believe that the business community has the greatest capacity to lead this change. Business and media leadership have demonstrated their critical role in driving positive change for other social problems; disability should be no different.

But to enable business and media to be that catalyst we have to ensure that they are informed, skilled, and supported in a way that makes business sense.

When business values the disability community as customers, talent, and part of the communities they serve, people with disabilities will be more included, have access to products and services that provide a way of life many of us take for granted.

Kanchi focuses on the value of difference
and the ability of people with disabilities

Kanchi’s first successful initiative, The Ability Awards, provided a vehicle to create that appetite in business.

But to have a greater impact we needed to move beyond 100 companies a year in Ireland to hundreds and thousands globally.

The ripple affect of creating a critical mass is what will ensure sustained system change both in Ireland and Internationally.

Kanchi Initiatives

O2 Ability Awards Ireland

The Ability Awards is an awards programme which recognises organisations for best practice in the inclusion of people with disabilities as employees, customers and members of the community. Find out more…

Ability International

The Ability Awards are the first social franchise that Ireland has produced and are leading an international business movement in this area. Find out more…

Kanchi Network

The Kanchi Netowrk is the business membership network committed to creating inclusive business through the disability business case. Find out more…

Kanchi Ability Benchmark

Currently there is no international benchmark that businesses can work towards in the area of disability. Find out more…

Kanchi 500

Kanchi 500 was a national awareness campaign which provided 500 people across Ireland with free disability awareness training.

This campaign was designed to support people in becoming more confident talking about and engaging with disability.

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