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Eradicating child poverty by establishing ties - LettuceBee Kids

LettuceBee Kids aims to give children-in-poverty sustainable access to a prosperous future through social inclusion and education

Photo of Haseeb Shaikh
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Explain your project idea (2,000 characters)

LettuceBee Kids gives children-in-poverty sustainable access to a prosperous future through social inclusion and education.

We work in underprivileged communities which lack access to fundamental needs and pathways to upward mobility. The children of these communities mostly peddle and beg on streets to help sustain their homes.

We aim to give these children a prosperous future by taking them from the streets to schools. But there are multiple barriers to accomplishing this:
1. Street children have limited or no formal education. They need years of preparation to enter schools at their age level.
2. These children experience a different childhood than those in "regular" society. Transition and inclusion into broader society is necessary to keep these children in schools, and to help them become regular citizens.
3. Their families do not have the income to sustain their homes and the children's education. That income needs to be provided to sustain efforts for change.
4. All this requires money.

We solve these problems by:
1. Running a school that provides primary education tailored to individual needs of these children.
2. Incorporating character building and grooming into our schooling, through our basic pillars of Arts, Music, Gardening, and Love.
3. Providing dignified economic opportunities to the mothers of these children, through training in handicrafts under our design brand Sammaan.
4. Creating and selling design products inspired by the artwork of the children in our school, under our brand LettuceBee Kids. Together, Sammaan and LettuceBee Kids ensure our financial sustainability.

At the heart of our model is social connection. We connect our children to society through their stories as art and music. Our vision is to establish LettuceBee Hive - a deli and art gallery under the same roof as the school of tomorrow and a community development center, where people from all walks of life can eat, learn, and build a better future; together.

Who are the beneficiaries? (1,000 characters)

Our current beneficiaries include children from ages ~6-12 and their families, in underprivileged communities in Islamabad, Pakistan. These people come from different backgrounds - some have been displaced by war and some by natural calamities - and all of them are searching for a better future.

The broader society also benefits through the connections we build between different tiers of society, through partnerships with schools, universities, corporations, and people around the world. Our products are sold globally to establish ties.

We have helped 300+ children and their families since the inception of our pilot program in 2012. The pilot program concluded towards the end of 2017, through which we generated $80,000+ in sales of our products to prove the sustainability of our social and financial model. Since the start of 2018, we have been scaling into a full-scale social enterprise.

Our future beneficiaries are children-in-poverty all around the world.

How is your idea unique? (1,000 characters)

LettuceBee Kids is unique because:

1. We include children-in-poverty into regular society, instead of locking them away in an alternative foster universe.
Children in foster programs are susceptible to gang and criminal activities once they leave the programs, owing to their lack of established social ties. We solve this problem by centering our educational program on 4 pillars of character building and grooming aimed at establishing ties.

2. We do not take donations. LettuceBee Kids has a proven self-sustainable model, which banks on tying children-in-poverty to regular society through their artwork, in the form of design products. Our financial model is centered on building a better and connected social ecosystem.

3. Our venture solves broader problems of underprivileged communities instead of focusing just on education. We help sustain the homes of our children by providing their mothers with dignified and sustainable income opportunities through our design brand, Sammaan.

Idea Proposal Stage (choose one)

  • Early Adoption: I have completed a pilot and analyzed the impact of that pilot on the intended users of the idea. I have begun to expand the pilot for early adoption.

Tell us more about your organization/company (1 sentence and website URL)

LettuceBee Kids gives children-in-poverty sustainable access to a prosperous future through social inclusion and education.
Learn more and shop for our products: http://www.lettucebeekids.com.
Keep in touch with us: http://facebook.com/lettucebeekids and http://instagram.com/lettucebee.kids
Write to us: info[AT]lettucebeekids[DOT]org

Expertise in sector

  • 5-7 years

Organization Filing Status

  • Yes, we are a registered company.

In 3-4 sentences, tell us the inspiration or story that encouraged you to start this project.

LettuceBee Kids is the brainchild of Sarah Adeel, a social entrepreneur, designer, and architect. She researched the impact of architecture on the development of underprivileged children and studied how prosperous social structures take form through conscious design, as part of her Master's thesis at Rhode Island School of Design. On returning to her homeland, Pakistan, she founded LettuceBee Kids to give physical shape to her research, in 2012.

Please explain how your selected topic areas are influenced, in the local context of your project (1,000 characters).

LettuceBee Kids has been established in Pakistan - a developing country - where the country's economic condition has kept underprivileged communities locked in an eternal struggle to find pathways to upward mobility.

We work particularly with communities host to a majority of internally displaced people, displaced by war, terrorist activities, and natural calamities, including floods and earthquakes. Owing to that, these communities are multicultural and multifaceted, mostly living in unregistered housing because of the lack of government support.

Without any planning for their income sources or their children's education by the local government, these communities are stuck in their efforts to find a brighter future for themselves. That is where LettuceBee Kids is hoping to make an impact.

Who will work alongside your organization in the project idea? (1,000 characters)

LettuceBee Kids has multiple modes of partnering with organizations, depending upon their place in the social ecosystem.

We partner with local schools and universities to utilize educational and infrastructure resources, which allows us to run a low-cost program. We have partnered with a local university to conduct LettuceBee Literate - our advanced digital literacy and learning program in the summers - for 6 years. We also partner with schools and universities to sell notebooks to their students which incorporate the artwork of children from our program, creating both income and societal connections in the process.

We partner with the corporate sector to provide co-branded corporate gift items.

We have also partnered with local and international social sector organizations to achieve mutual goals. Our latest partnership is with Shifa Foundation, aimed at expanding our program. And we have a partnership in the pipelines with Belgium's Mobile School for educational resources.

Please share some of the top strengths identified in the community which your project will serve (500 characters)

It is well documented that Pakistan's greatest resource is human resource. We have employed over 1,000 volunteers in our years of engagement in the community, from public and private sector organizations as well as the general community.

Our operations are set up in the capital city of the country, Islamabad, which gives us access to relevant players in the federal government, in order to drive policy debates for long-term impact.

Geographic Focus

Our current operations are in Pakistan. Our primary target is South and Central Asia.

How many months are required for the project idea? (500 characters)

32 months, over 3 phases

During Phase 1, we will expand our customer base to target $100,000 in sales, while we pilot our "Classroom of Tomorrow". This phase will last for 8 months, including testing and reporting.

During Phase 2, we will develop LettuceBee Hive, which will be centered around the "Classroom of Tomorrow" and the 4 pillars of our social program, over 18 months.

In Phase 3, we will invite investment for replication and expansion of our project over a 6-month period.

Did you submit this idea to our 2017 BridgeBuilder Challenge? (Y/N)

  • No

Attachments (1)

LettuceBee Kids Portfolio.pdf

LettuceBee Kids - who we are, what we have done, and where we hope to go

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Photo of Nadia Naviwala
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I love Lettuce Bee Kids and your products!

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