Enactus (www.Enactus.org) is an international community of students, academic and business leaders in 36 countries working to create social entrepreneurial projects that make a difference in the community around us. On co-founding the Enactus cell in my undergrad university, this was the first project we set for ourselves. We were a team of 7 highly ambitious students, excited to start our first social enterprise- DESI TOKRI- An e-commerce portal for artisans and charities to sell their handicrafts. Desi means- local, indigenous and Tokri means- a hand-woven basket. Before you read about this project, let me tell you the highlight- it FAILED. To read about this amazing failure, read my blog article (coming soon).
Is Tokri ki Kahaani (The story of this basket) – About Us
Desi Tokri is a one of a kind e-tail and gifting portal with a difference. We offer a wide range of products: from elegant handmade paper lampshades, to stylish bags in desi colours and print, and handcrafted jewelry, all made by artisans and organisations established in Mumbai (for now, possibly not for long). Desi Tokri has brought under one roof (albeit virtual), compelling and competitive products from these hidden pockets of talent, where each product bears a high degree of craftsmanship, emotional involvement and aesthetic appeal.
At Desi Tokri, we don’t just gift, we gift responsibly. Once you buy from us, bask in the feeling of having truly helped someone, and having made this world, a little better for them to live. What’s more! You’ve even helped make the planet a little bit greener! Even our packaging is highly sustainable and eco-friendly. “DESI TOKRI” is an opportunity to create a global business with a local impact .
Empowered and enlarged self-sustained social support systems
Our mission is three-fold
- To leverage the artisan skills of the underprivileged to develop desirable handicraft products
- Create a platform to promote these products globally
- Use the profits to achieve a financially sustainable system for artisans and underprivileged children and women organizations
The Bigger Picture
1. Creating A Sustainable Ecosystem
With DESI TOKRI, the objective of the organization is sustainable development of the NGO (non-governmental organizations) as well as the company that will ensure smooth functioning in the future.
2. Promoting Financial And Sustainable Growth Of The NGOs
The revenue of the products sold will be returned to the NGOs. The incentive behind this is to cultivate a culture of self-dependence in the functioning of the NGO for it to provide for its residents in a better manner. This project also aims at encouraging an entrepreneurial behaviour among the NGOs.
3. Creating A Platform For Global Recognition Of NGOs
At DESI TOKRI, we aim to generate a global arena for the NGOs, not only to sell their products and benefit in a monetary manner but to also create awareness within the world community about the purpose and mission of the respective NGOs. A culture of social empowerment can be enforced among a larger audience.
4. Identify And Nurture The Artisan’s Skills
The residents residing in the NGOs have talents that can be developed once recognized and identified. These artisans deserve the opportunities that have the ability to catapult them on a professional scenario. With the training required to hone these skills, their life can be impacted with a long term advantage.
5. Distribution Of Wealth Back To The Society
The profits generated will be returned back to the NGOs to support them in continuing their task of bringing about social betterment with their causes.
Our partnered organizations use handicrafts as means of-
For the inmates of the centre for the physically and mentally challenged, it is art therapy. Their self expression is manifested through the heartfelt works of art they create.
Ensures financial empowerment and sense of independence, for the deaf and the mute, who aim to elevate their livelihood and enhance their self-esteem.
When the girls at one of our partnered homes are not busy studying, they convert design ideas inspired from the latest movies and favorite shows, to reality. These activities help keep them engaged and encourage positive growth of the mind.
While the former supports every child's right to education, the latter is a creative center for the mentally challenged. As a way to support the sustenance and running of their respective Non-profit organizations.
Causes Being Addressed
Under the ambit of Desi Tokri, we are currently associated with various NGOs across the city of Mumbai.
The partnering NGOs support a variety of causes.
1. Orphaned Girls from vulnerable backgrounds
2. The Mentally and physically Challenged
3. Education for underprivileged children
4. And support for Malnourished women
What makes us green
We wanted to empower NGOs and artisans to help themselves and thought – why not save the planet while we’re at it? So here’s how we do that:
Eco-friendly products- We have some beautiful eco-friendly products like jute bags and all our paper products (like the handmade gifting paper and handmade paper lampshades) made using recycled paper.
Packaging- We made a conscious decision not place an additional burden on trees and decided to re-use and recycle for our packaging needs. We pack our products in old newspaper and recycled bubble wrap. This ensures that the packaging is hardy, and your product will reach you just as shown in the images on our web store.
Read my journey and learnings at Desi Tokri in my blog. (coming soon)