Mirakle Couriers was founded in January 2009 by Dhruv Lakra after he completed his MBA in social entrepreneurship from Oxford. The idea to help the deaf was triggered by one particular incident he experienced while traveling on a bus in Mumbai. Once upon a time, Dhruv was sitting on a bus next to a young boy looking eagerly out the window. In fact he was not just eager but actually being very restless. He was looking around anxiously, seeming slightly lost.
Dhruv asked him where he was going but the boy did not respond. It took him a few seconds to realize that this boy was unable to hear or speak. He was deaf. Though the bus conductor regularly announced the stops this boy still did not know where he was. Dhruv took out a piece of paper and wrote to him in Hindi asking him where he was going. Through the back and forth pen and paper exchange, it suddenly dawned on Dhruv how difficult life was for the deaf. Something as straightforward as a bus became a struggle.
He realized that we cannot know when someone near us is deaf as there are no obvious physical attributes, and so it’s totally ignored. There is very little public sympathy for the deaf, and by connection, a severe lack of government support for them in India. Particularly when it comes to employment there are negligible opportunities. It is this realization that led to the formation of Mirakle Couriers.
Over the next few months Dhruv spent time exploring the deaf culture and learning Indian Sign Language. He focused on a courier business because it requires a lot of visual skills but no verbal communication. He realized that the deaf are extremely good at map reading, remembering roads and buildings because they are so visually inclined.
Over the last two years Mirakle Couriers has grown to operate in 2 branches in the city, employing 70 deaf employees and delivering over 65,000 shipments per month. The list of corporate clients includes the likes of Mahindra & Mahindra, The Aditya Birla Group and JSW Group.
Their back office is run by 20 hard working deaf women with learnt-by-doing knowledge in data entry and manipulation, tracking and scanning, sorting and other branch operations. On the field they have a team 44 talented male deaf courier agents that navigate the complex lanes of Mumbai.
They have won several awards including the 2009 Hellen Keller award and the 2010 National Award for the Empowerment of People With Disablities.
The most commendable aspect of this venture is that it is not a charity but a social business where the social element is embedded in the commercial operations. Dhruv Lakra has clearly set an example of how social entrepreneurship can achieve miraculous results.