Three friends, who have been involved in social services for the past 10 years, decide to join hands to make a difference. That’s how Thuli, a goodwill shop for the underprivileged, was born. Ajith Kumar, Shivaji Prabhakar and Jey Bala (based in the US), stock used and unused garments, toys and accessories in their shop to re-distribute to customers.
“About a month ago, we started circulating information on Thuli on social media. We got a mind boggling r esponse,” says Kumar of Nsight, a health care support service organisation in Gandhi Nagar. His staff volunteered to collect the clothes and other donated items. “We sorted them into three categories. The first is good quality usable products, the second are ones not in a good condition and the third were simply dumped because they were not usable at all,” says Kumar.
The first quality products were dusted and cleaned. All the clothes were sent for laundry. Volunteers of Thuli then sorted the clothes out according to size, age and gender at a godown and then sent them to Thuli.
“We have worked out a model which will provide beneficiaries a pleasant mall shopping experience. The idea is to instil confidence by providing good quality clothes to those who cannot afford it,” says Kumar. He has started working with NGOs who will help him identify families that can shop here. “We have gift vouchers in denominations ranging from ₹ 100 to ₹2,000. We will distribute 2000 vouchers per family. And, products will be tagged accordingly. Members can budget and plan their shopping (two pair of outfits for each member of the family of four).
“For ₹2,000, a family can shop for four. The members have to physically come and shop. They are not permitted to shop for anyone else,” says Kumar.
Thuli has stocked some high quality branded clothes and accessories received as donations. The store does not stack the outfits but instead displays them on hangers, arranged according to size. “In case they do not find appropriate outfits, they can retain the balance vouchers and come again when we get their desired size or model,” Kumar states.
Right now, they have a wide range of outfits, handbags, toys and women’s accessories in stock. “We will be sourcing footwear, shoes, school bags and water bottles as their utility value is high. We will also gradually stock more items for children. In the long run, we intend to create a database and keep track of the children of the families who visit the store.We want to provide them with education, college admissions, job placement and career guidance.” A wide range of kids-oriented events such as storytelling and other value added e vents will also be organised at the store premises in the future. Going forward, Thuli will send SMS and vouchers to its beneficiaries once in six months or whenever they stock new products. Students are invited to volunteer to sort the clothes and identify potential beneficiaries .
Shop no 12, Ground floor, Gokul Arcade, Adyar