Changing Lives One Tiffin At A Time: Know How “Lunch Box 17” Has Taken Up This Inspiring Initiative

Posted on June 16, 2014 in Entrepreneurship, Interviews, Society

By Mayank Jain:

A knock at the door and the room was filled with a delicious aroma of freshly cooked food. Our tiffin from the LB17 service had just arrived. A courteous delivery person greeted us softly and handed over the lunch for which we had been waiting all morning. LB 17 is a revolution in the fast spreading Tiffin delivery systems because of the taste and nutrition they seek to deliver. The prompt service and efficiency is more than welcome.

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LB 17 is a lunch delivery service that caters to parts of South Delhi and runs out of a community in Khirki Extension. It is managed by two social good organizations Swechha and Green the Gap. Both of these organizations work on environment and social enterprises. A conversation with Vimlendu Jha, Founder and Executive Director of Swechha revealed a lot about this venture, which is out to change the world for these women who make home cooked meals, one tiffin at a time.

“I am passionate about promoting and assisting social enterprises”, he tell us and adds “I also have a passion towards creating, promoting and assisting social enterprises and have founded Green the Gap which is one of the largest green product aggregators of the country and the largest ‘Upcycled products’ manufacturer too.”

The journey of LB 17 started with organising women chefs from Jagdamba Camp, which is one of the biggest slum clusters of Malviya Nagar, New Delhi. When we quipped about what sets LB 17 apart, he had a lot to share: “LB17 supplies hygienic, affordable and healthy ‘lunch boxes’ to your destination of choice, at home or to your place of work, within South Delhi. Besides wholesome food, the idea of LB17 is to provide an element of hope to the aspirations of the young chefs by affording them a viable livelihood option. Through their unique culinary skills, these women are learning to run a business enterprise and striving to take control of their destinies, serving as role models for their communities.”

It is the drive to provide these women and men with livelihood and self-sustainability in financially testing times that is at the heart of this social enterprise which has been gradually concreting its position as a well-known organisation from South Delhi among major offices where employees wait for their lunches as much as they wait for weekends, not excluding our own.

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It is interesting to note how Swechha is working for the good of the whole community, “Women from Jagdamba camp cook the lunches with support from Swechha team. Young girls and boys from the same community are involved in delivery logistics. Also, before the enterprise is completely run by these women folks, Swechha is investing its own resources as well as possible profit from LB 17 to execute an empowerment program for the women of Jagdamba Camp,” Vimlendu explains.

With a great start at delivering lunches that has put the wheel in motion for livelihood and independence for the marginalized communities in this slum area, Vimlendu is not in hurry to expand. His focus areas remain exclusive as he shares his plans going forward, “Education, Empowerment and Employability are 3 main issues we are working on. LB17 directly looks at employability, but we engage with women and men of Jagdamba Camp on access to education and other life skills interventions.”

“The idea is to first make LB 17 self-sustainable and build a strong community ownership model around it. It’s easier said than done and is going to take at least a year for us to make it viable, financially as well as socially.”

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The enterprise is shaping up into one of a kind as it juggles the varied tasks and responsibilities of sourcing fresh vegetables early morning, cooking, delivering as per the office timings and at the same time, making sure that the main dishes aren’t repeated during the week as well as taking suggestions and feedback from the clients.

“Chicken Dish and Egg Curry are favourites for many clients while Rajma tops the vegetarian list,” he revealed.

You can find out more about LB 17 on their Facebook page here.

To know more about this story and what I think, follow me on Twitter at @mayank1029

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