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Special Youngsters Are Managing A Mobile Food Truck & Organic Market In Hyderabad

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A small quaint shop in Madhura Nagar, Hyderabad and a brand new grocery truck – that’s all the presence Swacch Organic Bazaar has in the thriving city. Outwardly, the name might sound like just another organic retail outlet, but the social enterprise has a farther-reaching impact on society than meets the eye. Swacch Organic Bazaar is operated completely by two special young adults, assisted periodically by children who face learning challenges. The store is founded by Suparna Bajaj with the help of Sahithi Reddy and Pooja Raina.

“Ranging from taking orders to delivering them, these youngsters manage everything perfectly They are getting hands-on experience in business management in an enjoyable, creative way,” asserts Suparna, in a conversation with Efforts For Good. She adds how the kids are enjoying an upfront exposure to the real world and confidently dealing with every challenge.

No one has ever become poor by giving
– Anne Frank

Why Swacch Organic Bazaar stands out

“It’s a great experience to work in the store. Previously we were under training at the school and now we are full-time employees – the transition has been amazing. We have acquired a lot of life skills. I really enjoy working here with my friends. Some problems do come up at times, but the positive learning environment really helps us,” one of the employees shares happily.

Suparna Bajaj, a proud mother, has always been an advocate of creative, experiential education rather than textbook-based rote-learning. In addition, she is an organic farming enthusiast, with her own flourishing farm of chemical-free vegetables and fruits. Together with her co-founders, she decided to amalgamate the two aspects together – thus birthing Swachh Organic Bazaar in 2017.

A to Z of organic products

“Aside from fresh produce from my farm and a few other organic farms in the neighbourhood, the shop sells A to Z of organic products – rice, pulses, cold-pressed oils, homemade snacks, baked goods as well as sustainable cutlery. At the start of the week, we send out a list of our products to the clients. The shop has a considerable number of conscious customers, who place their orders through WhatsApp or calls.”

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2,00,000 meals served

KHAANACHAHIYE: Fighting Hunger In COVID19

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“The permanent employees, along with the kids, jot down the orders and pack the items which are later collected by the customers from the shop or delivered to their doorstep. Our special kids flawlessly supervise every little thing. As part of the home science curriculum, the kids have learnt to bake a wide range of breads and other products. We are super proud of how much expertise they have acquired in such a short span of time,” declares Suparna.

Swacch Organic Bazaar

The truck is the latest addition in the accomplishments of Swacch Organic Bazaar. Launched very recently, the truck is bound to roam through the neighbourhood delivering orders at customers’ doorstep.

A unique learning experience

While the main store is run by the two adults, both over 21 years of age, the young children take turns to get involved in the day-to-day operations after school hours. “For the children, it’s refreshing to get out of the classrooms and training centres. They see, touch and feel vegetables and grains to identify them. They weigh the products, calculate bills, and thereby learn the basic rules of Maths. Some of these kids are even appearing for their board examinations now,” shares Suparna.

Swacch Organic Bazaar

Setting up a professional work culture

The permanent employees of the store are entitled to monthly salary and performance-based incentives. While they are rewarded for extra work, they are also penalised for late turn-ups or other negligence. The work culture has been strictly kept in accordance with a professional set up.

The founding team was caring enough to provide wholesome guidance and training to these youngsters before employing them in their shop. They worked for a while as managing stuff at a popular luxury hotel in Hyderabad as well as at an organic farm.

Swacch Organic Bazaar

Gradually, the youngsters got inducted the tenets of a positive work culture. They learnt punctuality and keeping up with daily goals. They learnt to deal with different types of clients and address all their grievances patiently. “That’s when we knew that they were soon-to-be adept professionals,” she adds.

“As adults, we need to unlearn our preset notions and try to see the world through the eyes of the kids. That is how we can help build a better and more beautiful society,” the two co-founders resonate together.

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It's not how much we give
but how much love we put into giving.
- Mother Theresa Quote

Goonj Is Working With 1000’s Of Volunteers & Partner NGOs To Provide Covid-19 Relief In 18 States

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With the extension of the lockdown the crisis of migrant labourers and daily wagers has just grown bigger due to uncertainty and fear of future. In the migrant colonies, slums and for people in the villages hunger and desperation is building up day by day. This is high time we step up our efforts to support our people who are in dire need of food and hygiene essentials to survive the pandemic, Covid-19.

After the India-wide lockdown, a lot of jobless migrant workers are stuck in cities with hardly any resources while many started retreating back to their villages. With the loss of livelihoods, a large number of them are now struggling to support their families.

Goonj activated its pan India teams and a pan India network of partner organizations and volunteers in urban and rural India. This network, built over the last two decades, helps them learn from the ground, reach material quickly and review and adapt strategy periodically. Intensifying this network has helped Goonj reach and start work across 17produced states/UT in the last three weeks.
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2,00,000 meals served

KHAANACHAHIYE: Fighting Hunger In COVID19

95,07,689 Raised
Out of 1,00,00,000

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Goonj’s focus: 

Majority of the Covid-19 relief work by non profits right now is in the metros and cities but Goonj is the only non profit that is also simultaneously focusing on the people in the villages and the ones stuck on highways or somewhere.

Goonj is targeting daily wagers, migrants and other vulnerable groups, who even traditionally are left out like the disabled, sex workers, LGBTQ community.

“COVID-19 is a crisis, yes…But, it’s also an opportunity for us to build the society anew. Not ‘for’ the people…but, ‘with’ the people. And in the process, we will build ourselves too.” – Anshu Gupta, Founder-Director, Goonj.

Direct Monetary and Material Transfer

Wherever Goonj got the permission to open their centres for packing and disbursement of relief material kits, they are creating a kit consisting of 20-30 kgs material including dry rations, masks, sanitary pads and other hygiene material and reaching them to people, as per needs and as per regulations with all safety precautions. This kit will help a family survive for 30 days.

Information till 10th April 2020:

  • Distributed 15,100 ration kits reaching thousands of people
  • Reached 17,700 families
  • Supporting 12 community kitchen across India with 16,600kgs of ration
  • 77,800 food packets provided to migrant laborers and daily wagers walking on the roads across the country.
  • Provided direct financial support to 32 organisations
  • Made 42,800 cloth face masks
  • 24,900 cloth sanitary napkins produced
  • Produced 1500 litres of organic sanitiser

In Goonj’s processing centers its trained team of women are making cloth face masks and cloth sanitary pads (MY-Pads), keeping all the precautions and with the permission and cooperation of the local authorities.

In this lock-down phase if you are facing any difficulty getting sanitary pads or you are running out of stock, here’s a detailed but very simple process of making Cloth Pads at home created by Goonj. “This is how we make Goonj MY Pads.” This is how our mothers and grandmothers turned their spare cloth into pads.

This disaster, unlike any other, is unprecedented in its scale and impact and that’s why we all must do our bit with Goonj to continue its relief work for millions of people in this still unfolding long-tailed disaster.

The need is huge.. We are there.. Need You too !!

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Quote
It's not how much we give
but how much love we put into giving.
- Mother Theresa Quote
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