Published: 27th April 2018
This Chennai store offers a shopping mall experience to the underprivileged
They have also partnered with Aloft Hotel, who provide them with free services for the laundry and Parveen Travels who have agreed to offer their travel services for free
Everybody loves a good mall experience. What about people who can't ever imagine doing that every weekend because they'd simply feel out of place? Thuli (which means drop in Tamil) is a store located in Adyar that aims to offer the shopping mall experience for those who come from the lesser privileged sections of society. A non-profit organisation started on February 18 by three entrepreneurs — Shivaji Prabhakar, Jeybala and Ajith Kumar — Thuli's aim is to do "charity with dignity." All the three co-founders of Thuli are businessmen.
With funky interiors and racks of neatly folded clothes, toys and accessories, the organisation functions by collecting these items from people across the city, country and also from people abroad in the US and Dubai. And then they sort these items based on quality. Those that they identify as first quality are laundered and then hung up at the store. They have collection centres throughout the city for people to donate items. "We get parcels regularly from abroad. We received three on Thursday from Dubai, full of toys and footwear for children," Ajith said.
The underprivileged who visit the shop are given INR 500, 1000 vouchers for free and with those, they can purchase anything they want from the shop. Thus, these people get the shopping mall experience and can purchase what they want without actually having to pay for it.
Way to the top: Thuli has already served 2042 beneficiaries in just 2 months
Ajith said they have already gotten 2042 beneficiaries at their store to shop in just two months since their inauguration in February, "The idea is to give back to society something that is permanent," said Ajith.
The smile on the faces of the children when they get to choose and buy what they want is what success means to us
Ajith Kumar Ravindran, Co-Founder
"We are trying to expand our network by getting other NGOs on board for other services such as free eye checks ups and special courses for them to study," added Ajith.
They have also partnered with Aloft Hotel, who provide them with free services for the laundry and Parveen Travels who have agreed to offer their travel services for free, such as transporting items from the collection centres to the store. Omega Healthcare and Beyontec Solutions also send in volunteers from their organisations to help in the sorting department at the store during the weekends.
Happy Birthday: Thuli surprised this boy with a cake and a new dress
They recently celebrated a boy's birthday at the store. A boy whose mother did not tell him it was his birthday as she could not afford to celebrate it. The volunteers at the store organised a small birthday celebration, gifted him a new dress and got a cake for him too. Ajith said the child was from an underprivileged family, and somebody had called into their store the previous day to inform about his birthday. So the volunteers planned a surprise for the boy.