Striking out on their own

Swabodhini School for Special Children trains its students in retail management through an initiative called Swayam

Published - April 18, 2015 08:03 pm IST

Students at Swabodhini School . Photo: R. Ravindran

Students at Swabodhini School . Photo: R. Ravindran

A group of people with special needs display a great understanding of retail management. They are running a grocery and provisions shop, Swayam.

The store, launched in 2009 with the objective of providing hands-on training to children, is a unit of Swabodhini School for Special Children, which is located at Valmiki Nagar in Thiruvanmiyur.

An interesting feature of this shop is that the special persons are assisted and supervised by their mothers. They have been trained to identify products and brands, conduct money transactions and also take up other essential activities related to retailing.

Roles are assigned to each member based on their abilities. For instance, Venkat Narender and Sowmya have a photographic memory and are asked to take care of billing.

Puja and Manoj have good motor skills and are entrusted with the job of arranging products on the shelves. The mothers attend calls from the customers. The special people are being trained in home-delivery of products and attending calls. They are taken to other supermarkets and provisions stores so that they gain an understanding of the processes.

“A few residents in the locality who are aware of the initiative and are willing to wait patiently for the shopping to be done, are our loyal customers. Swayam aims to make special persons employable in other supermarkets, and also enable them to start their own grocery stores,” says Radha Ganesan, founder director.

Besides its customers in Thiruvanmiyur, products are home-delivered to customers in Adyar, Alawarpet, Velachery, Thoraipakkam, Mylapore, Mandaveli and Royapettah. Swayam can be contacted at 044 - 2445 2485.

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