ARVIND PITRE

India,

This profile below was prepared when Arvind Pitre was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 1985.

Fellow Sketch

Arvind Pitre has effectively combined social and business principles to improve the lives of physically disabled people. 

Arvind was elected for physically rehabilitating people with disabilities (PwD) through workshops, reaching people in the economically backward areas of Karnataka, Goa and Maharashtra. Starting in 1985, he rehabilitated the locomotor-disabled using Jaipur foot technology at the Karnataka Health Institute (KHI), Ghatprabha. With the help of 3 physically challenged and socio-economically backward workers he provided subsidised artificial limbs and appliances to those in need. Through a large network of partners including KHI, district hospitals, medical associations, Lions, Rotarians, NGOs and corporates, he organised outward makeshift workshops. Arvind has reached patients in remote areas through his 'Workshop on Wheels'. He founded Asha-Kiran Trust, Siddhapur, in 1992 to continue his work in Karnataka.   

Adding onto his physical rehabilitation work, Arvind expanded his focus to include education and capacity building for PwD to make them economically independent. He motivated the local people to start the School for the Deaf in Sirsi and the School for the Blind in Siddhapur. Arvind started promoting a culture of entrepreneurship amongst PwD, building on his experience in teaching entrepreneurship at the Father Agnel Institute of entrepreneurship development and at the Centre for Incubation and Business Acceleration. He set up the first entrepreneurship development centre for PwD in 1992 in Pune which later shifted to Ahmednagar in collaboration with Snehalaya. He started the Entrepreneurship Development Programme (EDP) for the physically challenged rural dropouts and women which is presently running out of 3 centres across Goa. Since the last 30 years, Arvind has been guiding his network of CSOs, helping thousands of PwD with education, physical and economic rehabilitation. 

Realizing that PwD found it difficult to reach the consumer markets and as a result there was a high migration of youth from rural to urban areas, Arvind started building a rural marketing consortium in 2008 to prepare rural producers for a global market. The Progressive Union of Rural Entrepreneurs (PURE) consortium creates economic opportunities by helping rural producers connect directly with consumer forums and cooperative department stores. Arvind presently is bringing together people with hearing disabilities and connecting them to consumer market forums like Mumbai Grahak Panchayat so they can reach over 40000 families in Mumbai. He uses the cluster approach to bring rural producers together and is building SOPs for consistency in quality of products. He plans to continue his work in building this consortium creating access for markets to thousands of rural producers.

This profile was updated in September 2014. Read on for the Election Profile.