Shilpi Kapoor

Ashoka Fellow
Mumbai, MM, India
Fellow Since 2011


This profile was prepared when Shilpi Kapoor was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2011.
The New Idea
Shilpi is making societal inclusivity a reality for all people in India and making it possible for differently-abled people to demand equal opportunities from society.

Shilpi’s organization, BarrierBreak, is working with Microsoft to create a curriculum for the print-impaired to learn Windows operational system and train the trainers who work with print-impaired children. She works with libraries, targeting the larger ones, such as the Central Public Library in Mumbai, to become accessible by bringing assistive technology like magnifiers and adopting their search system to be compatible with screen reading software. She showcases high standards and ensures that the tools for education are inclusive. Shilpi is creating models for accessibility for people with different disabilities across sectors. For example, she is bringing inclusiveness into e-space, converting websites of organizations like All India Confederation of the Blind into accessible formats. Shilpi has also set up an online service for deaf and mute people called “Sign & Talk,” where with the help of a webcam a person can sign their message to a professional sign language translator, who will call the required number and facilitate communication. This service provides impaired people with a range of opportunities from ordering food to enabling them to participate in business meetings and discussions.

Shilpi realizes for Indian society to become inclusive there have to be a lot of companies that will become accessibility service providers. She initiated Techshare, the first accessibility conference in India to showcase world-class inclusive technologies to Indian industries to increase their interest in this market. Techshare is creating a trend for inclusiveness in India, which will bring local stakeholders to this market. Shilpi is also actively working with the government to set a legal framework for accessibility. Her work in formulating Guidelines for Indian Government Websites has been instrumental in making them fully accessible.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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