Thuli, a store in Chennai, was launched after three entrepreneurs realised that the underprivileged would not be able to see the inside of a mall. Thus, their incredible efforts to treat the disadvantaged as equals makes for a heartwarming story. Aiming to bridge the gap in the society, ‘Thuli’ – the brainchild of Shivaji Prabhakar, Jeybala and Ajith Kumar – was launched on February 18.
Adorned with fine interiors akin to a store inside a shopping mall, ‘Thuli’ soon became a place where the needy could get clothes, handbags, toys and women’s accessories without having to pay anything. The clothes available at the store are collected from people across the country, meticulously sorted based on its quality and then laundered before being put neatly on display.
‘Thuli’ teams up with NGOs, who work closely with the underprivileged, for distribution of the vouchers that they can use to shop at the store. One can walk up to the store with vouchers of Rs 1,000 and Rs 500, which are distributed and exchange them for commodities available. The opportunity to choose from a variety of items gives the underprivileged happiness and a chance to bury the feeling of living on charity.
In addition to providing clothes and accessories to the needy, the owners of ‘Thuli’ have also taken it upon themselves to instill the need for menstrual hygiene among the disadvantaged. Every woman who walks into the store is given three packets of branded sanitary napkins. A coupon is handed over along with the packets which can be redeemed for three more napkins after three months.
Charged with the motive of uplifting the quality of life of the underprivileged, the owners of ‘Thuli’ maintain a directory of people who come to the store. The data is then shared with NGOs who work towards fulfilling their other needs.
From a small initiative to bring a change in the society to bringing smiles to over a 1000 faces, ‘Thuli’ has become successful by working on the principles that everyone knows, but only a few follow.