‘Jis aurat ko muh dekh ke nikaal diya, usko kaun naukri dega’ (Who will employ a woman sacked because of a disfigured face)
Who Will Employ Woman Sacked Because Of Disfigured Face
These were the words that triggered Akash to set up a venture for acid attack survivors and visually impaired women. Akash Bharadwaj, a consulting corporate trainer and a freelance travel agent has launched a travel firm ‘Khaas’ and a gift courier firm ‘Khaas Uphaar’ that is entirely run by visually impaired women.
Akash with a smile says,“Inke paas roshni nahi hai par yeh logon ko duniya dikhayengi.” (They can’t see but they will help tourist to see the world).
The whole idea to launch such start-ups triggered him while he was out for shopping for Diwali, last year. He interacted with a nearly Visually Impaired woman who had scars on her face. She was selling balloons. Her husband had abandoned her after a neighbour threw acid on her. She had a baby and she lost her job as a security guard after this incident. Her words sent chills down her spine as she asked him that who will employ a woman who was sacked because of her disfigured face.
This was the triggering point for Bhardwaj to begin his entrepreneurial journey. He opened a travel firm called Khaas. Soon after that, he begun a gift-courier firm called Khaas Uphaar. Both Khaas and Khaas Uphaar is run entirely by visually impaired women. They do all the work including making appointments and presentations. They also accompany the groups on trips, as reported by Economic Times.
With the help of JAWS(Job Access With Speech), women operate on their PCs. JAWS is a software that helps visually impaired people read. They also use smartphones.
All the employees are well educated. Archana is a 34-year-old who has masters in home science, but she lost her vision due to carelessness of doctors during a brain tumour operation. Kamlesh, another employee has a postgraduate degree in political science from Jamia University. Prerna is pursuing her BA third year from DU’s School of open learning. Deepti is also a postgraduate in political science while Nirmal is a 33-year-old widow and has an eight-year-old daughter. They enjoy their work and like to meet new people and chat with them on various issues. He plans to employ 4 acid attack survivors in next 4 months.
Akash is said to be looking for office premises on the ground floor as it’s hard for the visually impaired girls to climb to the fourth floor. They work in a small office on the fourth floor of a building in Laxmi Nagar, New Delhi. He is also looking for funds to purchase other equipment for the staffs. His wife and father supported him in setting up this enterprise. His trust in his employees has made him fight every trial and makes him go on.
The Logical Indian applauds the efforts of Akash and congratulates him on his altruistic efforts in making this world a better place for women warriors.
Even at 76, Pradip Burman, the zestful chairman of Mobius Foundation radiates a contagious enthusiasm when he is talking about sustainability. The environmental crusader, better known to many as the great-grandson of Dabur founder Dr S.K.Burman, has devoted substantial attention towards promoting the concept of sustainability in all aspects of life. He refuses to conform to the convenience and comfort in today’s world which ultimately adds on to the adverse effects of climate change.
Talking to The Logical Indian, Burman emphasised why sustainability as a concept is indispensable for us. “We ought to be aware of what lies ahead of us. Soon we will finish the oil, iron, tin, and coal, and our next generations will be left with nothing. Recycling, banning plastics, stop felling trees for paper… This should become a part of everyone’s lifestyle,” he urges.
Traditional wisdom and modern research
A mechanical engineer from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), USA, Burman had always nurtured a keen interest in helping the society, as evident from his graduation project of designing a sonic aid for the visually challenged, which detected obstacles in the way using ultrasonic wave signals.
As an executive for the nature-centric company Dabur, Burman has always opted for natural alternatives to solve his everyday problems like taking Ayurvedic medicine to cure his Arthritis. He later launched the veterinary wing for Dabur – Ayurvet – which provides nature-friendly solutions for animal health care.
A patron of the ancient scientific wisdom of India, Burman always hailed the confluence of “traditional knowledge and modern research”, which he advocated as the Ayurvet motto.
As part of the CSR initiative of Dabur, Pradip Burman founded SUNDESH (Sustainable Development Society) which has been tirelessly working for last 25 years in remote villages for uplifting the rural communities in an environmentally sustainable way.
An advocate of sustainability
Burman believes that sustainability is the indispensable mantra for the world at present. Due to uncontrolled utilisation of the planet’s resources by human beings, the world today stands at a juncture of destabilisation. Today the human race has reached the pinnacle of progress but the advancement is happening in a very unsustainable manner.
Through energy-efficient use of everyday essentials like transport, communication, altered habits of diet, clothing and daily living, some crusaders of sustainability try to reduce their carbon footprint. Pradip Burman’s Mobius Foundation is one of the forerunners toward sustainability goals.
Mobius Foundation aims to change the sustainability dynamics
In 2015, Burman paved the way for the start of Mobius Foundation, focused on sustainability. Named after 18th-century German mathematician August Ferdinand Mobius, the famous Mobius strip has an important philosophical significance. The extraordinary shape symbolises balance and union.
Similar is the essence of Mobius Foundation which wishes to enhance the “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” principle to a widespread basis in India, helping generations to come.
Founder Pradip Burman wishes to achieve notable development in education, population stabilisation and renewable energy projects.
A dream school in the making
At Coorg, Pradip Burman’s Mobius Foundation is constructing the World Environment School, Coorg (WESc) where the curriculum will surpass the boundaries of books and classrooms, with a special focus on hands-on learning in close collaboration with the environment. Amidst the pristine natural beauty of Coorg, the school will nurture young minds to grow up into future green leaders. As of now, the school will be open to teenagers, welcoming students from standards 6 to 12.
Needless to say, World Environment School will be the first-of-its-kind not only in India but also in entire South Asia. The school is expected to start from March 2020.
The school promises to nurture the responsible behaviour of citizens of our future.
The Sustainability Conference of 2019
In 2019, the Mobius Foundation has planned an international conference, on the lines of the celebrated earth summits over the past decade. The 2019 International Conference on Sustainability Education (ICSE 2019) aims to bring together environmental activists, practitioners of sustainable development as well as climate change experts to help develop a sustainability-focused curriculum.
It is surmised that the conference will give a platform to innovative concepts of Sustainability Education including an essential change in the existing education system ensuring a wholesome personal development for a student.
The Sustainability crusader
The Mobius founder strongly believes that it is high time to sprout sustainability awareness among a society drowning in consumerism and unknowingly doing irreparable harm to the planet, every second. The best way to achieve this goal is through education which is available to all. At present, the education system is predominantly career-oriented, making the learners a victim of materialism, and thus, their dreams are also outlined in those colours.
Living beyond the limits
When asked about his wish to attain the age of hundred, he strongly asserts that more than becoming a centurion, he wishes his life and work continue to better the society even in his absence. “I have lived my life. I wish that whatever I start before I go, will continue – for the betterment of my country,” says Mr Pradip Burman.
He is also a trustee of the Climate Reality Project – India (affiliated to Mr. Al Gore of the Climate Reality Project Foundation, USA). Climate Reality Project, India, has been actively engaged igniting the spark and spreading the message of climate change amongst educators, policy makers and civil society. The India branch looks after more than 500 trained Climate Leaders, and more than 900 volunteers spread all over the country.
In his journey, Pradip Burman has been a beacon of hope for millions, motivating many to join the movement for sustainability. We wish he continues his tireless efforts for promoting sustainability awareness and inspire generations to come.