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Cart With Heart aims to create self employment opportunities for people with disabilities across India

Cart With Heart, a retail service business initiative launched by globally experienced retail professionals, aims to make its presence felt in India. The venture has currently kicked off in Mumbai where it has partnered with a green start-up to sell eco-friendly bags across three Metro stations. The bags are sold at kiosks or e-carts that are manned entirely by disabled people.

People with disabilities make up a sizeable percentage of India's population and are increasingly looking for ways to empower themselves and stand on their feet. Opportunities, however, are hard to come by and it is this scenario that Cart With Heart (CWH) is aiming to change.

A retail business initiative with a worldwide presence, CWH has launched its initiative in Mumbai by tying up with Bags Forever, a green start-up that sells eco friendly bags made of recycled plastic bottles. At three Metro stations - Ghatkopar, Marol Naka and Andheri, you can now see brightly coloured kiosks manned by people with disabilities selling these bags as well as pens made of recycled paper. Currently CWH is reaching out to people who are deaf and hard of hearing.

CWH aims to empower people with disabilities across India by providing them with employment opportunities and by sensitising society at large about the disabled community. It wants to show the world that people with disabilities too can contribute to India's economic growth. All they need is an opportunity.

The story behind the initiative, says Co-founder, Amit Arondekar started when over 700 phone booths in Mumbai disappeared over time with the appearance of mobile phones.

We realised that there we no organisations which were totally dedicated to create 100% employment for specially abled persons. Its always a part of their CSR initiative. As students of the retail industry for over 20 years, we wanted to create opportunities for them while enhancing consumer experience and delight. Both our front and back end teams are made up of specially abled persons and core mission to to create employment and self-employment for them. - Amit Arondekar, Co-founder, Cart With Heart

The venture wants to do away with the stereotype of sympathy or pity towards people with disability and the communication displayed at carts speak to that. The idea is that customers "experience the delight of interacting with specially abled persons", in Amit's words. CWH aims to become the most preferred retail service partner in the cart business model while creating social, economic and environmental impact in the retail service industry.

Among the team leaders at CWH is Pradeep More, who has experience working in the retail sector. As Sales Head, Pradeep focuses on hiring and training, launching new carts and monitoring sales.

"We are a growing organisation and have started with deaf people. We look forward to work with people across disability types, especially women as the organisation grows". As a deaf person, Pradeep is especially happy to work with the disabled community. "I am proud that I am able to support the disabled community by providing livelihood so that they can earn and become independent. Given my experience in the retail and disability sector, I want to impart my learnings and experience to other disabled people, give back to society and encourage more disabled people to become independent".

Pradeep's colleague, and fellow team leader Suresh Yadav enjoys the opportunity of going to the carts and training the disabled staff manning them. "I have learned a little Indian sign language so I can communicate with them and my senior Pradeep also helps me with tips on interaction. I am happy to be a part of an initiative like this because we are helping to bring about a change in mindset".

Reach out to the team at Cart With Heart at customercare@cartwithheart.com.

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