Khaas Travels : Creating opportunities for the marginalized
India’s first travel company run by blind women. Khaas manager and founder, Akash Bhardwaj aims at training and employing more blind women, acid attack survivors, HIV positive people, in turn bringing the marginalized into the mainstream and creating a successful business model. Khaas has five blind women who have undergone training using JAWS (Job Access With Speech), a screen reader software. They successfully and happily manage all the in-house operations at Khaas.
Akash has over 12 years of experience in HR & Training and has also worked as a freelance travel agent. Using his own funds he started Khaas in April, 2016 with a view to provide a platform for marginalized people. He is training them further to meet clients and give presentations. He believes in imparting skills and providing them with tools to become self-reliant.
How Akash got the idea:
Akash Bhardwaj is the founder and manager of Khaas (special in Hindi). Using his own funds he started Khaas in April, 2016 with a view to provide a platform for marginalized people. The idea for India’s first travel company run by the blind and acid attack survivors struck him when one day at the market he met a lady, an acid attack survivor, selling balloons. He was surprised by how well spoken and what a good saleswoman she was. After the acid attack, her employer had shown the door to her and her husband abandoned her. Having been a corporate trainer himself, he could see that she was full of potential and was inspired to do something about it. For him acid attack survivors, HIV positive people and visually impaired people do not need sympathy, rather they simply require training and a workspace where they are not treated differently. Thus, Khaas was born.
The Obstacles :
- Due to logistics Akash manages to meet and close only two leads out of ten with clients on an average day.
- The current office space is not disabled friendly i.e. it is extremely small and located on the fourth floor in a congested area.
- More staff and lesser computers. Essential softwares like JAWS are expensive still are a must for the girls to be able to use any screen devices.
How your money will be utilized :
- Khaas will hire more employees and train them. Apart from blind people, acid attack survivors and HIV positive people who will assist Akash in closing more deals, thus generating more income.
- A disabled friendly office space for a staff of 30-40 people.
- Computers( laptop), phones, uniforms and essential software’s for the staff of Khaas.
- A lady driver and a second hand car to make travel convenient for our blind employees.