“When was the last time, you saw or interacted with a person with hearing disability and actually stopped for a moment to think about their lifestyle? What kind of a life do they live when they become adults, and what does socio-economic independence mean to them? Do they also not want to stand on their own feet, and live their life without being subject to the questions of society?
Now think the other side.
How much do you need to communicate with a courier guy, when he comes to deliver a courier to you? Don’t you just sign the document and take the courier? Does it really matter, if the courier guy could hear and speak or not? So next time when you receive a courier through Mirakle Couriers, take notice, as 99% of their employees are deaf and mute.
The brain behind this unique startup is a well accomplished man, who shunned all the pomp and glory of the Corporate World, to become something valuable for society. Born and brought up in Jammu and Kashmir, Dhruv Lakra, after graduating from HR College in Mumbai, went on to join DSP Merrill Lynch as an investment banker. Within 2 years he realised that he had a different calling. He quit his job to join Dasra, an organization that works with various social impact efforts, working on issues ranging from child trafficking to helping social ventures raise capital. His corporate and social experience won him a scholarship for an MBA degree in social entrepreneurship from Said Business School, Oxford University, UK.
Back in India, once while travelling in a bus, Dhruv saw a deaf boy having trouble, while communicating with the conductor. After that bus trip, Dhruv came home and signed a document for receiving a courier. There was no real communication involved, and that is when it struck him, that these two aspects could be linked, to create a wonderful employment opportunity for the hearing impaired.
Set up in 2010, Mirakle Couriers has now come a long way and its success rate is increasing day by day. But all of this did not come so easily to Dhruv and his company. In the beginning his idea was discarded and no one wanted to be a part of it. “If he is deaf, he shouldn’t be working” was what everyone told him. There were monetary issues as well. But the numerous awards and the Echoing green fellowship of $15000 every 6 months helped them continue.
In spite of funds from some of the biggest companies, their profits were not increasing. Mirakle Couriers was looked upon as the last option for shipping, as the most unimportant documents were sent through them. The deaf and mute girls had to face a lot of difficulties in entering the workplace, but found work like entering data online and other small technical work at Mirakle. Today Mirakle Couriers has a total of 64 employees- 20 female and 44 male and 4 management staff.
Dhruv wants to bring in a huge change to our approach to social welfare and social problems. And by creating a service driven profitable enterprise, providing gainful employment to a deprived section of our society, he has succeeded in not only giving them economic independency, but also a dignified social status. A true inspiration for all.
SHREYA DUTTA | TOC
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