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Swati Bondia is a new age social entrepreneur who shines as a ray of hope in the lives of hundreds of poor people; people who had given up all hopes of earning a decent living and pushed to the last resort of begging for a living.
Swati Bondia is the reason why erstwhile beggars now earn up to 10,000/- rupees per month. It started off when one day Swati was travelling in an auto-rickshaw and came across a ten-year-old girl, begging. Though Swati refused to give her money, she did, in fact, buy her things she thought the little girl would need. Even after buying her all that she needed, Swati realised that none of it made the young girl feel any better. Talking to the girl gave her a wider insight into the life that she lived. Her family was a family of migrant workers who had been denied employment in the past; their savings eventually drained out; leaving them with no means other than begging, to make ends meet. This incident made her realise that employment was the problem behind people ending up as beggars. She eventually knew she could do something to change lives for the better.
Swati started Om Shanti Traders and laid the foundations of this organisation at an age of 18 with a vision to “bridge the gap between the various layers of society-economically and socially”. Om Shanti Traders employs the homeless, trains them to become skilled artisans; the furniture made by them is then sold off, with the profit being shared with the employee family, and the rest is invested back in the company again. It ensured the gradual economic stabilisation of the underprivileged families- the “bridging of the gap”. Apart from the equitable sharing of profits, each of the families is ensured a place to stay, given timely health check-ups and all children in the family are sent off to schools to ensure that they receive education enough to support their families.
Swati was called upon by the United Nations in 2014 as the Indian representative for a project in Columbia-“Bottom of the Pyramid challenge”, which aims at eradicating poverty by aiming at the grass-root level.
The Logical Indian salutes Swati for her bottom-up approach and tackling in-equality which has plagued the global society as a whole. The dream of seeing no economic disparity in the society might still be a far-fetched dream however people like Swati give us hope that in-equality can be ended.