This initiative is helping the physically disabled set up their own businesses!
Alok Misra, from Sitapur in Uttar Pradesh, is the brain behind Saudaagar, which is enabling the disabled in small town and rural Uttar Pradesh become small entrepreneurs.
Misra has an organisation called Socents, which is dedicated to finding innovative solutions to society’s problems. Socents aims to bridge the gap between demand and supply in areas like retail, education, health and environment, by encouraging innovation and enterprise. It now functions through its flagship programme, Saudaagar.
Nearly 2% of Uttar Pradesh's population is disabled, mostly unemployed.
Saudaagar uses retail as a tool to create self-employment opportunities for more than 25,000 disabled people.
It does this by giving financial and infrastructure support to people with physical disabilities in every village of Uttar Pradesh with a population that is more than 2,000. These Saudaagar outlets stock daily household necessities, food and drinks, and medicines. Shopkeepers receive doorstep delivery through a strong distribution network.
The disabled have poor means of earning a living and most of them are from the lower sections of society. They are unaware of government schemes, and need counselling so they take up business as a form of livelihood. This counselling is done by Saudaagar’s field staff and telecallers.
Saudaagar, helps the physically disabled to set up retail shops
Once a beneficiary is identified, the organisation motivates him and then gets a bank loan for him. It also fixes rates with suppliers and ensures that stocks reach Saudaagar outlets.
The products are sourced directly from manufacturers and are distributed through Socents’ own channel to the Saudaagar outlets. So far, there have been 1,400 applications for setting up Saudaagar convenience stores.