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Video Wednesday: The Lemon Tree Initiative

I came across the Lemon Tree Initiative video a week or so ago when a friend posted it on Facebook. Praveen’s message that this was one of his favourite hotel chains and that the video gave him more reason to appreciate them had me intrigued. It’s what prompted me to hit the play button.

And man did I smile though it all. I felt good by the end of the video, happy that there was hope for the human race after all, that there were people doing awesome things out there, going the extra mile, making a difference,… If you are wondering what I’m talking about, watch the video now!

The Lemon Tree Group of Hotels runs a very special initiative that provides work places for people with disabilities. THey don’t pity them but celebrate their challenges and make their disabilities their strengths.

As the Founder of Lemon Tree, Patu Keshwani says it all started when two people with disabilities were hired to wash dishes in the kitchen. The job wasn’t given with a grand scheme in mind by rather with the intention of giving an opportunity to people who would not otherwise get a job easily. But over time they realised that people were disabilities were great employees, they also realised that 10% of India’s population is disabled in some form, so they started to look at roles in their organisations where peoples disabilities were irrelevant.

Today they have over 300 employees with disabilities and 90% of these are speech and hearing impaired. They also have over 20 people with orthopedic handicaps. Keshwani says they had given thought to hiring visually impaired people but realised that it would be really difficult for them in an hotel environment where there are a lot of visual ques. Their latest addition to the disabilities list is people with Down Syndrome.

The aim of Lemon Tree is to have 20 to 25% of their workforce as people with disabilities by 2018-19, that’s about 2000 to 3000 people!

The video was just wonderful to watch, the joy and happiness the employees of Lemon Tree seemed to radiate was catchy. It made me smile. Rather than sympathise and pity them, the Lemon Tree initiative gives them must needed strength and confidence to stand-up and be their own person in the world, a chance to earn and live with dignity!

Kudos Lemon Tree, may your tribe increase. I hope more organisations learn from you. :)
You can find out more about Lemon Tree Hotels on their website.

P.S. – I found that they also have a Pooch Policy. 😀 Each Lemon Tree Hotel (and they have 25 of them) has adopted one street dog in and around their hotel. The dog is named, vaccinated and loved and cared for by the Lemon Tree team. These guys just make me smile wider and wider. 😀

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