This Mumbai-based organization is creation transport easy and permitted for differently-abled people

Umoja believes that improved accessibility starts with recognition and changing minds

People with special needs or differently abled mostly find it formidable to pierce about or transport with palliate once they step out of a comfort of their homes. Although many schools and workplaces make efforts to make a places permitted to such people, a same can't be pronounced about traveller spots.


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Millions of persons with disabilities opposite a creation have good problem anticipating permitted accommodation while travelling.

Umoja, a transport association from Mumbai, is creation transport easy and permitted for differently-able people, by entertainment minute and constant access-related information that one can use to find hotels that accommodate their entrance needs or preferences.

How it all started

Umoja was founded in late 2014 by dual friends – Yeshwant Holkar and Ben Musgrave – who met during INSEAD Business School, France


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“A dear family crony is a wheelchair user. Seeing how formidable and time immoderate it was for her to find permitted places to visit, we felt there had to be a improved way. We accepted that good accessibility starts with good information,” says Yeshwant, 34,who binds an MBA from INSEAD and a bachelor’s grade in financial and truth from Franklin Marshall College, USA.

By providing minute and constant accessibility-related information, Yeshwant hoped he could capacitate over a billion people with disabilities globally to transport with confidence. Furthermore, Yeshwant’s goal was to uncover businesses like hotels, restaurants, malls, and cinemas that by improving accessibility, they can daub into an appealing marketplace segment. Thus, Yeshwant and Ben teamed to form Umoja, that means ‘inclusive’ in Swahili.

When a group began vocalization with a hotels about a judgment of permitted travel, really few saw a potential. The group came opposite people who were demure to put in a bid citing reasons that people with disabilities mostly stay during home or many of them can’t means a vacation, while some merely discharged a idea.

“There are over 180 million people with disabilities in India alone, and many suffer travelling and can means to do too! Our work during UMOJA has been to remonstrate hotels, restaurants, cab providers, etc., that people with disabilities are loyal, well-paying business only like anyone else.”

“We are already saying businesses take a initial stairs towards accessibility by adding a elementary ramp and attracting new customers,” adds Yeshwant, who has over 7 years of knowledge analysing and investing in businesses while in a item government industry.

Reaching out

Umoja’s height shows over 100 permitted hotels in 11 good destinations opposite a country. The height also has permitted transport itineraries to India’s Golden Triangle (Delhi, Agra, Jaipur) as good as Kerala and Goa. The group has also published a series of accessibility end guides to assistance people devise their travels.

Umoja has expelled a initial wheelchair user’s beam to Goa, covering dozens of wheelchair permitted places to visit, eat, stay, drink, etc. Along with Lonely Planet, a transport beam book publisher, Umoja has also co-authored accessibility guides to 3 renouned festival destinations in a UK, with dual some-more on a way.

Umoja has co-authored a discipline on accessibility standards for persons with disabilities and a aged for a Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of India.

Umoja launched a transport use in Dec 2016, and has given organized permitted holidays for 28 customers.

Wheelchair Wanderlust

Umoja launched a UMOJA  #WheelchairWanderlust foe in Apr 2016, where a group had partnered with Marriott Hotels and several other brands to send a wheelchair user and his family on his dream holiday to one of 6 permitted destinations in India. The foe had over 3,500 entries and a winner, a immature male with crisp bone illness from Andhra Pradesh, enjoyed an extraordinary permitted holiday to Goa with his family.

Following a foe in 2016, hundreds of wheelchair users had combined to Umoja to ask about going to Goa, though all were unhappy to learn that nothing of a beaches there were accessible. Due to CRZ regulations that were shaped to strengthen opposite coastal over development, a differently abled and their families were not means to suffer a beach together.

“This didn’t seem right or fair. So we motionless to organize BeachFest, finish with an permitted beach pathway, permitted washrooms and changing rooms, and an permitted restaurant, as a indication of what is probable when a beach is done accessible,” says Yeshwant.

The BeachFest was organized during Mar 31April 9, 2017, that had over 250 participants.

“While a BeachFest was a outrageous success in terms of a recognition built about accessibility and a practice a participants had, a loyal magnitude of a success will be either any beaches in India are done henceforth accessible. To safeguard a differently abled and a aged can suffer a pleasing beaches only like everybody else, we need your support!” says Yeshwant.

A vast partial of Umoja’s goal is to lift recognition about a emanate of accessibility and a group has combined a petition to make beaches accessible to differently abled. BeachFest was also hold to lift recognition for a petition.

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