“Khaas” is a unique travel startup, founded by Akash Bhardwaj, which only hires visually impaired women and acid attack survivors. “Khaas” is providing support to physically challenged employees. This organization organizes domestic and international tours of corporate organizations, school, and colleges, family tours, family trips, adventure camps and many more.
From making appointments till closing the deals, everything is taken care of by the visually impaired employees and sometimes if required, they even accompanying the groups on the trips too.
Akash Bhardwaj refreshes his memory and told the purpose behind this startup was “I was in Delhi’s Lajpat Nagar area during the Diwali celebrations of 2015 when I came across a lady selling balloons. She had acid scars on her face. When I asked her what had happened, she said a boy in her neighborhood threw acid on her face and her husband abandoned her after that. She had two kids and was working alone to look after them. She used to work as the security in-charge in a mall before the attack, but no one was willing to give her a job after the incident. ‘Everyone talks about the importance of face value,’ she told me in proper English. So I decided to help people like her by providing them with better employment opportunities”.
He further adds “The women I work with are talented and determined. But they did not have the right platform to showcase these qualities. So I have given them that platform and am trying to make it bigger.”
Six months ago, to start this business, Akash sold his bike and wife’s jewelry. Currently, the company consists of five women employees- all of them are visually impaired. These girls reach the office on time, get it clean, and operate their computers with the help of JAWS (Job Access with Speech) program that helps visually impaired people read the screen with the text-to-speech output. They are also adept at using smartphones. In the last 20 days, the six employees had made 75 calls, confirmed 19 appointments, and finalized over five tours.
Archana (one of the employees), 34, lost her vision due to medical negligence during a brain tumor operation at the age of 23. Kamlesh, Prema, Dipti, and Nirmal are the other women working in the same organization.
Dipti, one of the employees, sums it up, “I am extremely happy with my job at Khaas. I love the agency with all my heart because this is where I have learned many new things. I believe that Khaas and Akash Sir will change my future and I will remain grateful to him forever.”
Akash is now planning to hire the next batch of 15 girls and train them and also planning to hire acid attack survivors as well. “They are so happy with their work that many of them say they would like to work on Sundays too. They enjoy coming to the office, working together, meeting new people and talking about worldly affairs. Some of them live in hostels and don’t have their families here.