Something which i felt like sharing in the blog
Dhruv Lakras courier firm delivers 25,000 packages every month by a deaf-only staff
You dont except pin drop silence at a courier office during peak business hours.But at Mirakle Couriers Churchgate headquarters,the only dominating sound is that of a whirring air-conditioner.Without exchanging a single word,its 49 staffers,all deaf,successfully deliver 25,000 packages a month within the city.Dhruv Lakra,its 32-year-old founder,who holds a degree in social entrepreneurship from SAID Business School,University of Oxford,stresses the difference between the deaf community and the hearing impaired.While the latter carry a hope of medical correction,the deaf have no choice but to resign to a life of silence.And yet,he doesnt approve of the term disabled for his colleagues.They are just differently abled, he says.They are great with operational work,good with directions and incredibly honest apt for the work they currently do.
After a job with financial management and advisory firm Merrill Lynch and a volunteering stint with Mumbai-based NGO DASRA,Lakra decided hed use the best lessons from both experiences to launch a socially-conscious business idea.Mirakle Couriers was born in 2009 with just two delivery boys.It now operates out of two branches (the other is at Bandra).
Remembering the incident that spun his life around,Lakra says,I was sitting in a BEST bus beside a boy who was looking restlessly out of the window.He was lost although the conductor was regularly announcing the next stop.I tried asking him what was wrong,but he didnt respond.Thats when it struck me that he was deaf.I helped him through handwritten notes,but I had come face-to-face with their everyday struggle.
Lakra decided hed come up with an entrepreneurship plan that would empower others like the boy.
And he sure has.Amarjeet Mistry,a confident middle-aged staffer communicates animatedly through sign language while Lakra interprets what he is saying: I was a carpenter and it was tough to make ends meet.How was I to fend for my family Things changed after landing this job.My daughter can speak English,you know!
While Mistry and his male colleagues manage delivery,the women,including Lata Upadhyay (name changed),operate the back office.Upadhyays parents were unwilling to let her work late hours.When Lakra learnt of this,he changed their schedule.We come in early and are back home before sunset, she says.I didnt want mere labourers.The idea is to get women with a difficult past to enjoy their work.They are my responsibility,so assigning them comfortable working hours keeps me at peace too, says Lakra,who learnt sign language as part of his field research.
In the absence of the spoken word,text messages have proved to be Mirakles lifeline.Its through SMSes that the staff effectively communicates and tracks deliveries.Their professional track record has helped bring in prestigious clients like Mahindra & Mahindra,Godrej & Boyce,the Aditya Birla Group and Under The Mango Tree.One staffer opens his eyes wide,and flays his arms to symbolise the fancy tall buildings they deliver packages to.
Its evident that Lakras idea is a hope for the community when he tells you he receives calls from eager parents looking for a suitable boy for their deaf daughters.It takes a while for me to explain that we are only Mirakle Couriers,not Mirakle matchmakers, Lakra smiles.