This article has been sponsored by Amazon.in
On average, Anita (name changed), a resident of Mumbai, sees at least three courier agents servicing her apartment complex every day.
She even started nodding at some of them, given the growing familiarity. But it took a few months before she noticed that some of them, in bright orange polo t-shirts and yellow vests, were deaf.
Intrigued, she set out to find out more about them.
As she discovered, they were employees of Mirakle Couriers, an organisation that hires low-income deaf men and women and generates employment opportunities for them, working to empower and help them achieve financial independence.
Over the past couple of years, Mirakle Courier agents have started fanning out across Mumbai, breaking many stereotypes.
This is because Amazon Transportation Services has partnered with Mirakle couriers to provide last mile delivery services to customers in Sakinaka, Powai, and South Mumbai. Today, this initiative has reached a stage where the impact it has on the lives of the marginalised is ever-increasing.
Who are Mirakle Couriers?
Founded in January 2009 by Dhruv Lakra in Mumbai, Mirakle Couriers is an organisation that hires and works with deaf people. Having started with just two boys in the team, they now have 64 employees on their payroll.
The employees at Mirakle have come in from different backgrounds and some have experienced harassment and trauma. Post-Mirakle Couriers, their lives have changed. Today, they are the earning members of their families – are respected, independent, and love the jobs they are doing.
Mirakle meets Amazon Transportation Services:
The Service Partner program is one of the last mile models by Amazon Transportation Services in India wherein entrepreneurs act as Amazon.in’s local distribution network providers and create the last mile delivery footprint.
With over 700 Service Partner nodes across the country, Amazon.in works with diverse entrepreneurs. One such initiative is the unique delivery station of Amazon.in in partnership with Mirakle Couriers.
With the intent of creating a workplace that is truly inclusive, Amazon.in launched their first-of-its-kind ‘Silent delivery station’ in Mumbai in January 2017.
What is a Silent Delivery Station?
A Silent delivery station is a dedicated station that is almost wholly managed by delivery associates who have hearing impairments.
They deliver packages covering a radius of 2-3 kms from the delivery station by bus or on foot. They are trained on all safety procedures and customer experience behaviours by the team at Mirakle Couriers via sign language.
They use the same technology as other delivery associates with some modification in processes to ease their delivery experience.
After the success of this Silent delivery station, Amazon.in opened the second Silent station in Mumbai in June 2018.
These two stations have provided opportunities for more than 30 delivery associates with hearing impairments in the city.
It is not just about livelihood. The crux is the change in self-awareness of the differently-abled. From being seen as a burden by their families, they are now seen as breadwinners and contributors to the family.
Neelam, one of the associates working at the Silent delivery station is rather exuberant and she communicates, “It’s very different to work here. There are deaf boys and girls. Everyone knows sign language and we all work together. We are a strong team, and I’m happy to work here.”
This is an initiative that can inspire many in India to create opportunities for those who need them the most. Kudos to the team at Mirakle Couriers and Amazon for showing the way.
(Edited by Vinayak Hegde)