My latest story for Beyond Profit looks at how social enterprises are attempting to provide employment to those with disabilities. My original idea with this story was more of a “best practices” piece, but as I began my reporting, I realized that no one has mastered the challenge—not even media darlings Mirakle Couriers. Luckily, I had a great source in the founder of Mirakle Couriers who was completely honest in admitting he wasn’t entirely convinced of his own business model anymore.
The Ability Barrier
While Dhruv Lakra buzzes around the office with a frenetic energy, rarely sitting or standing still, the employees of Mirakle Couriers – tucked away in a small office in South Mumbai’s Churchgate district – communicate in sign language. Mirakle employs only persons with a hearing disability.
Lakra, an Echoing Green Fellow, founded the company in 2008 to provide jobs for the hearing-impaired. Since then, it has gotten significant media coverage and has been held up as a success story in the struggle to provide employment for the disabled in India – no small task in a country where 70 million people, or about 7% of a population of 1.2 billion, qualify as disabled.