Stories and tales of ‘how hard work will change one’s future and fate’ seemed not be working for the members of a deaf and mute community in Delhi. Their dedication and willingness to fight the society by earning their own bread was all visible in their beautiful handicrafts, paintings, gift items and other items but the filled cupboards told another story of lost hope. Their hard work and products which were supposed to change their lives couldn’t reach the market.
“It was just another appalling sight of the plight that any college student who takes up a project on social welfare will surely encounter”, says Saurabh Patel one of the co-founders of Lithics.in. “The condition was such that even one of the heads of the NGO, which worked for these communities had to cut down on staff and take up a part time job to generate money for the organisations”, he says as he recalls the past times.
Taking lessons from one of their college projects at Cluster Innovation Centre and doing some further research, these students realised that the situation was not much different for other NGOs in the country. After days of pondering over the problem of market access to these communities, they came up with an idea of a creating a social enterprise that could help these marginalised communities sell their products at a full price to its customers. Aiming to end this plight, three students Desh Deepak Dwivedi, Saurabh Patel and Kirti Krishan started Lithics.in in order to provide an online marketplace for helping various NGOs and Co-Operative of weaker sections of the society like organisations of differently abled people, jail inmates, marginalised women from rural areas, local artisans, and war widows among many. Currently being housed in the Technology Business Incubator of Cluster Innovation Centre of the University of Delhi (DU).
Today more than thirty small and big organisations sell their products through their web portal. Ms.Sujata Kumari, the founder of Agrima Foundation who earlier had to cut down on the staff as she was unable to sell her products now has recruited several new of them. “Now I am busy packing products for the orders that I receive from as far as Darbhanga in Bihar to Tiruchirappalli in Tamil Nadu. Now I know that I am receiving my due recognition”, says Sujata.
Within six months Lithics has gone forward to win several accolades. From winning the Pollination Project Grant, receiving special appreciation at DBS-NUS Social Venture Challenge Asia 2016 and was selected for entrepreneurship training at DO School Brazil. One of the co-founders got selected for Younus and Youth Fellowship program.
“We are planning to expand our reach of NGOs outside Delhi. Currently, we are eyeing towards Mumbai and Bangalore”, says Kirti Krishan who is one of the co-founders.
On being asked about what motivates them to work day in and day out, Desh Deepak says “Many people come across pain of marginalised people and go back by just showing sympathy. We wanted to do something more than that, so we empowered them. Their happiness is our sole currency.”
The start-up has made it to the final rounds the International Entrepreneurship for Good Program 2017, Brazil. You can make them win this competition by voting for them by clicking on the link given below.
(You would need to enter your email and confirm the same on the mail that you receive in your mailbox)
*You can buy any of their products here to support weaker communities to earn a living.
Feature Image credits: Lithics.in fb page