Two serial entrepreneurs speak to The Better India about launching a website that sells school children’s art and crafts.
Art and crafts lessons in schools are considered very important to the psychological development of students. These classes allow children to unleash their creativity and make keepsakes that they and their families can cherish. However, very often, the fruits of their labour lie neglected on shelves at home, gathering dust after initially being admired.
Jai Eapen, a Hyderabad based entrepreneur, has two daughters who are exceptionally skilled at creating beautiful pieces of art. “My elder daughter is eleven years old and she is into quilling (a craft form, in which strips of paper are rolled, shaped, and glued together to create decorative designs). A couple of months after she started quilling we realised that there were 40 pairs of earrings, and assorted necklaces, greeting cards, and brochures, she had made that were just lying around the house,” he says.
As a parent, he knew his daughter’s impressive artwork was put on display only during exhibitions organised twice a year at Global Edge School, where she studies.
So he came up with the idea of setting up a website called Brite Camp, which would feature the students’ artwork all year long. Friends, relatives and even strangers could purchase these items. An interesting aspect of this model would be that it would direct 50% of the proceeds from selling the crafts to non-profit organisations working with underprivileged children.
Jai teamed up with serial entrepreneur Srinivas Reddy, with whom he had already launched start-ups like gyaane.com, jobs-bank.com and healthylovedones.com. Since they already had some experience setting up internet platforms, their next step was to rope in children for Brite Camp. They approached three schools in Hyderabad – Global Edge, Genesis International School and Delhi Public School. “We don’t know whether it was luck or coincidence, but all three schools approved of the project. I went to Global Edge and Genesis to speak to the students there. They were extremely enthused about Brite Camp because they could now look forward to their crafts having a shelf life of more than just two-three months. They wanted their DIY projects to not just clutter up their homes but help enrich the lives of children in need,” says Jai.
After discussions with three administrative heads from the schools and talking to around 5,000 children who wanted to sign up for Brite Camp, Jai and Srinivas realised their project could potentially have another interesting fallout – encouraging children to pursue arts as a profession. Jai says, “We understood that if we developed a platform that allowed blossoming artists to create art and crafts and get paid for them, it would inspire them to take up art professionally. In a country where every second child is persuaded to be an engineer, doctor or a pilot, it helps to give recognition to amateur artists at a young age.”
Interested to support this initiative? Here’s the link to their crowdfunding campaign!.‘
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So would the children be compensated financially for their work that is put up on sale? “Fifty percent of the proceeds go to different NGOs, 30% go to the children whose work is on display, and 20% are retained by us for running the platform,” he adds.
In order to ensure that the money generated by Brite Camp reaches children in need, the team has decided to partner with two reputed non-profit organisations – Make a Wish Foundation and IIMPACT. Make A Wish Foundation has been working to grant the wishes of terminally ill children since 1996 and has 11 centres in India. IIMPACT works with girls from disadvantaged backgrounds and educates them through community-based learning centres.
Jai says, “We are very excited about Brite Camp because it encourages children to take up arts seriously and also inculcates a habit of philanthropy in them. Not only does this make them more empathetic but it also encourages them to dedicate their time and talent for the betterment of society.”
The Brite Camp team is seeking funds on the crowdfunding platform fueladream.com to assist budding artists and entrepreneurs in selling their products while also helping out underprivileged children. If you wish to contribute to this initiative, you can donate here.
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