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Bengaluru, December 21, 2015: Makers from across the globe came together on December 18-21 to fine-tune their assistive devices developed during the Enable Makeathon challenge – an initiative of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and its partners. The 60-day program comprises a series of events by the end of which participants will develop appropriate solutions for persons with disabilities.

These participants have expertise in technology and design, disability and mentorship. The 30 Maker Teams include participants from across India as well as from Mexico, US, Australia, UK and Portugal, of which 16 teams will enter the final round which concludes on January 23, 2016. At the end of the challenge, three winning teams will be given rewards to the tune of 50,000 USD. And these solutions will be presented to investors, incubators and NGOs.

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The teams participated in Business Bootcamp at IIM Bangalore on December 18 where they were brought face to face with the challenges of being entrepreneurs and helped with their business plans. They received insights from experts on how best to take their products to end-users once they have finalized their prototypes. These devices are aimed at helping persons with disabilities to perform activities of daily living, regain mobility, maintain posture, and access employment opportunities, among others.

Mr. Tarun Sarwal, Head of Innovation at ICRC, said “There has been a significant improvement in all aspects of these prototypes from the time the teams conceptualized and submitted their ideas. We are hopeful that these solutions will change the quality of life of persons with disabilities living in remote areas across the world.”

Mr. Ganesh from Bengaluru-based NGO Manasvini, who met the teams at Workbench Projects during the Maker Days, said that this is the first such initiative in the disability sector. “I have not come across something like the Enable Makeathon so far. It’s not only the first such program, but it’s also very unique in terms of the profile of participants and the ideas they are working on.”

 

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