In India, 6.3 % of the population or nearly 63 million people are diagnosed with extreme hearing impairment. Among children, four out of every 1,000 are victims of this. Of the 63 million around 70% are unemployed. The deaf don’t have many opportunities – educational- or workwise. As a result the Indian deaf population has inevitably lagged behind.
The thought of a courier company that will only hire deaf people came to Dhruv Lakra, the founder of Mirakle Couriers, by two successive events. First, Dhruv was sitting in a bus next to a young, deaf boy who was looking restlessly outside the window, making sure he wouldn’t miss his stop. When Dhruv and the boy exchanged a few notes, he realised the struggle deaf people go through, every day. The successive event was a courier delivery – a simple, two-minute process that required no verbal communication. And once that realisation dawned upon him, there was no looking back, ever.
Mirakle Couriers was born; an innovative social enterprise that employs and includes low income deaf adults. Through its delivery business mainly for the e-commerce sector, the company delivers possibilities for the deaf, generating employment and resulting in their empowerment and financial independence. Mirakle Couriers’ entire operations are conducted in Indian Sign Language and distance communication is done by texting.
Mirakle Couriers is a true inclusive company that embedded the social element into the commercial operations. The company builds a bridge between the corporate and social world, thereby leveraging on the booming industry of logistics to create meaningful employment for the deaf.
Starting the conversation with C4D Partners in 2017, Mirakle Couriers had two delivery centres in Mumbai and the company was ready to expand to other major cities, thereby aiming to employ more than 5,000 low income deaf adults by the end of our investment period. As we invest in companies with a strong social-economic impact agenda, it didn’t take us long to decide that an investment in Mirakle Couriers is fully in line with our strategy.
The strategic relationship with Amazon benefitted Mirakle Couriers as well. Amazon asked Mirakle to set up Mirakle hubs all over India. Via these hubs, the couriers not only deliver for Amazon but also do last level of segregation (sorting by pin code / area code). This helps Mirakle to increase the margins further and also allows the company to hire more (female) employees. The partnership with Amazon has significantly impacted the performance of the company. Currently, the company is working with several large courier companies like Blue Dart.
The competition is high in the last mile delivery sector. Mirakle Couriers however managed to achieve a strong position in the sector due to low attrition rates within the company and the high quality of service delivery. The company provides people with disabilities (PWDs) the chance to prove themselves. Mirakle Couriers’ employees are very loyal due to these opportunities, which give them a huge boost, and the benefits the PWDs receive from the company - mandated by the government for PWDs. Apart from its employees, Mirakle Couriers’ clients are very loyal too due to the excellent service the PWDs provide. As Mirakle Couriers hire PWDs only they will always have an edge over other companies due to the strong social angle that they bring to the table. Companies like Amazon love Mirakle not because of the high level of service only but because of their strong social angle.