Disabled entrepreneurs at ‘EcoMade’ are struggling to make ends meet after lockdown
‘EcoMade’ is an online platform where disabled entrepreneurs from across India sell their products. But due to Coronavirus pandemic and lockdown, their work has been affected and they are unable to sell their products, making it a struggle to support themselves and their family. They are now looking for a ray of hope.
Sathyan S, a wheelchair user from Mannar in Kerala is struggling to support himself and his family after months-long lockdown. Sathyan is a member of ‘EcoMade’, an online venture where disabled people make products and sell them to customers worldwide. Over the past few months, Sathyan, and many others like him are struggling to make ends meet. They hope that the government would step up to help them or maybe the pandemic would soon end and everything would get back to normal so that they can get back to their feet like before!
‘EcoMade’, exclusive products by disabled entrepreneurs
It has been over a year since ‘EcoMade’ was launched by Delhi-based wheelchair user Sooraj PA. Disabled people who are part of the team makes products and uploads photos of the products which are then sold to their clientele. Paper pens, bottle-art works, umbrellas, cotton mat, paintings, pedal operated sanitizer stands, face masks, bamboo handicrafts, glass paintings and other craft materials are available on their website ‘EcoMade’.
The website is used only to display products. Interested people can contact in the number provided on the website. The product is then handed over by the person who made it.
Currently, there are nearly 200 members in the group. 160 are people with disabilities from different parts of India. The group also provides opportunities for free education to disabled people. Raw materials are provided to makers at cheap rates.
One of their unique features are use of eco-friendly products sans any plastic use.
“EcoMade provides opportunities for disabled people to lead an independent life with self-esteem. There were many disabled people who used to make products at home. They wanted a platform to sell them. So that is what ‘EcoMade’ aims to do. We have been getting a lot of good responses. Now, we are planning to expand our venture internationally by tying up with NGO’s and people from other parts of the globe. We also hope that the government will help us by providing grants and so on”, says Sooraj PA, founder, EcoMade.
The struggles of disabled entrepreneurs
For people like Sathyan, undoubtedly, the lockdown has been a tough time. Now that the place where he lives in has been made a containment zone, the struggle got harder. “Making products and selling them was my only source of income through which I supported my family. There are many people like me. We also had many raw materials like paint and paper which has all gone bad now. Even the automatic machines that we use are damaged because we aren’t using them anymore”, says Sathyan who makes paper and cloth bags and paper pens too.
Joby, whose son Jebin Jose is deaf says that the lockdown has affected them in many ways. Jebin is a class 12 student. He used to make paper pens which were sold through ‘EcoMade’. “My husband is a daily wage worker and even he lost his job due to lockdown. Jebin’s products cannot be sold anymore. So we started making masks which also got shelved. Since last few days, we are getting small orders”, says Joby.
These disabled entrepreneurs hope to see a ray of light soon. They hope more kind-hearted souls and the government would step up to make life better for them.
You can check out their products at www.ecomade.in.
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