India 17 August 2016: For some people, the term ‘Aadhar’ (support) is merely a term to provide a helping hand to needy people. For Manish Bharthi, a student of Vivekanand Education Society Institute of Technology (VESIT) and his NGO Kartavya Foundation, it is a mission, a noble endeavor to reach out to downtrodden sections of society and extend to them sustained means of livelihood. This year, the NGO through its initiative ‘Mission Aadhar’ has embarked upon a unique drive to help 3 visually challenged girls to earn their livelihood by selling rakhis on the occasion of Raksha Bandhan.
“Financial inclusion through providing the right training and marketing forms a key component of women empowerment. Mission Aadhar has been conceptualized with the aim of ensuring a dignified livelihood for our visually challenged entrepreneurs by providing them the requisite skills and sales support. It has been our most sincere attempt to identify the sparks of entrepreneurship in physically challenged ladies and build a relationship of trust and hope with them in their journey to achieve economic independence and self-esteem,” stated Manish Bharthi.
Last year, Kartavya Foundation had collaborated with Ms. Archana Barse, who is visually challenged and has completed her B.A. and D.Ed. by helping her prepare rakhis and providing marketing support by helping set up stalls to sell the rakhis. The collaboration had helped in earning a profit of around Rs. 20,000 which was given entirely to Ms. Barse. Taking this initiative to the next level, Ms. Barse has formed a team of two more visually challenged girls this year and they started preparing rakhis from June. The rakhi designs, the different themes around which the designs would revolve were chosen by Ms. Barse. Kartavya Foundation helped the team in visiting vendors, sourcing material from them and setting up a workshop to help them prepare the rakhis.
The NGO has embarked on a massive outreach program to sell the rakhis. Stalls are set up on the VES Degree College campus as well as Mansukhani Institute of Management (MIM), Ulhasnagar. Kartavya Foundation has also approached corporates in this unique endeavor and has got an overwhelming response. They have set up stalls in L&T Infotech Powai and Tipco Solutions. Plans are in full swing to set up stalls in Oracle, Goregaon and Infibeam, Andheri over the week.
Kartavya Foundation has also tapped social media platforms like Whatsapp and Facebook to reach out to potential customers outside Mumbai and Maharashtra. Their efforts have provided positive results and people from Pune, Nasik, Ahmedabad and Hyderabad have evinced an interest in purchasing these rakhis. More than 100 student volunteers from different colleges across the city have committed themselves to run and manage these stalls, the cost of which has been borne by Kartavya Foundation. This year too, the NGO plans to give all the profit from the rakhi sales proceeds to Ms Barse and her team mates.