Combining business with a social cause – a Mirakle story
Starting a successful courier business in a city Mumbai when there is stiff competition from global market leaders like DHL is one thing, however combining it with a model to empower the weaker sections and making it a functional business model is another. That is the story of Mirakle Couriers. Founded in January 2009 by Druv Lakra, the enterprise generates employment for poverty ridden deaf people and empowers them to achieve financial independence. It is peculiar because it works unlike NGOs or government agencies for a section of our society which have been constantly neglected by us. It does not believe in showering these people with special benefits, schemes, aides or grants but focuses on empowering them by providing them work, an opportunity to live with dignity and hone their skills. It gives them an opportunity to become independent and take their lives in-charge, which every successive government have failed to do.
Mirakle Couriers confidently boasts about their ‘for-profit’ and declares boldly that it is not a charity on its official website. Over the last two years the enterprise has grown up to employ 70 deaf employs and delivers over 65,000 shipments per month, all possible due to the genius of Druv Lakra who proves that business can be associated with both profit and welfare of the society. Story behind this innovative idea is a very personal one for Druv Lakra, who on a bus journey encountered the plight of a fellow passenger, a deaf boy, who was trying to figure out the route with difficulty. It is such a simple task which comes automatically to those of us who have used public transport before. But never does our thought rest upon the possibility of the plight of all the weaker sections of our society, such as people in their old age or with special needs, while performing these simple everyday tasks. Druv Lakra spent substantial amount of time learning Indian Sign language and after much consideration chose to start a courier company as it requires more visual skills such the ability to read maps. Hence, it also brings out a key aspect of how it is one thing to dream of such a model and other to put adequate hard work while preparing and researching for it to be implemented. The enterprise is not just about a successful model. Nor is it about one man’s dream. It is about one man’s vision to combine the dreams and hard work of many who many of us do not believe have the ability to even compete with the so-called abled population.
Contrary to popular perception, development is not just about economic gains and industrial growth but also empowerment of the people, especially the weaker sections and adequate provision of opportunities and facilities to the citizenry for a nation. And enterprises like Mirakle Couriers just do that with relentless ambitions its employees and employer riding behind its cause. The enterprise has won accolades for its success story, such as Hellen Keller award in 2009 and National Award for the Empowerment of People with Disabilities in 2010. Mirakle Couriers is an inspiration for this generation to not limit the idea of business and pool self-interests with the interests of the society.