LettuceBee Kids

LettuceBee Kids: Sustainably Reintegrating Street Children into Society

Raleigh, United StatesIslamabad, Pakistan
Year Founded:
2012
Organization type: 
for profit
Project Stage:
Established
Budget: 
$50,000 - $100,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

We envision a future where no child is begging on the streets; a future where your fortunes depend on the richness of your spirit, not the richness you were born into. We, at LettuceBee Kids, work for this future through economically sustainable reintegration of street children into society.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if every child begging on the streets could lead a normal life by GIVING something to your child?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

UNICEF estimates that 100 million children live in poverty around the world. This global problem needs a sustainable solution but: 1. The generic orphanage model only takes care of food and shelter, without taking care of the social and psychological needs of these children, which essentially never gets these kids off the street. 2. All efforts in this regard are economically unsustainable as they are at least partially donation-based.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

1. LettuceBee Kids (LBK) has pilot tested its social program, which revolves around basic principles of life, with 70+ children to transform them into socially included and productive beings: (a) Therapy and self-expression through art. (b) Creativity through music. (c) Wholeness with nature through gardening. (d) Inclusion by adopting a grandparent. (e) Digital learning and literacy. 2. LettuceBee Kids generates its own revenue through trademarked products themed "for children - by children", stemming from unique art pieces created by children in their art therapy classes. Now expanding to mass retail in the US, and with other proposed revenue streams, LBK is a globally replicable economically sustainable social enterprise model.

Awards

Best Social Entrepreneur Award 2014, at Pakistan Startup Cup; Best Sustainable Organization at ‘Women Can Do” Women Entrepreneurship Summit 2015, in Pakistan; Award of Excellence - Rhode Island School of Design, in USA.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

You have to look no further than the title image to see how transformative LettuceBee Kids is in the life of a child on the street. Picture Gul Alam, a 7 year old child on the street, peddling and begging for $1-$5 a day. We have all seen a child like that at least once in our lives. But rarely does anyone see what the head of a child like that is on the inside. Children like those also have dreams for their lives; kids in our program said they wanted to grow up to be pilots, teachers, and policemen - one child wanted to be a lion when he grew up. Their dreams are squashed, though, by the world they live in. They did not choose this life. We need to give them a future where they can choose to dream, choose to live, and choose to be kids.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

LettuceBee Kids has reached out to 70+ children on the street through its pilot program, initiated in 2012. The program achieved the following: 1. Over 3 years, our children learnt to express their emotions through art - a child depicted a day in his life as standing under the shadow of the legs of a man that represented a home to him. World famous musicians like Todd Shea and Della Mae inspired our children to create music. We conducted advanced digital learning and literacy programs for the kids with help from Khan Academy and Bahria University, and they got inducted in formal schools successfully. 2. We made ~$55,000 in revenues in 2014. To date, we have held 4 national and 1 international exhibition of our products. LettuceBee Kids was taken up as a case study by IE Business School in Madrid, whose students studied and furthered the self-sustainability model in place at LBK.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

LettuceBee Kids is now poised to enter the mass retail market in USA, where a series of textile interior furnishing products for children are about to be launched. By partnering with large scale international retailers, we aim to capture a large portion of the market which can allow sustainable and aggressive expansion of the outreach of our social program in Pakistan. In the future, other revenue streams through our social program have been envisioned and are being worked upon. The full impact potential would be realized by envisioning licensed replication of our model in other countries.
Sustainability

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

Financial SELF-sustainability is the cornerstone of our organization. Each prong of our social program has a long-term revenue generation stream: art-based products through art therapy, radio and live music gigs, an organic fresh-produce deli through gardening, and other such ideas. 1 international and 4 national exhibitions of our products have already been held, introducing heartfelt products to the public to establish ties and earn income.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

A child on the street is a global problem and there are hundreds of organizations working in this domain. The largest organization in this regard is UNICEF, under the umbrella of which there are many smaller organizations working locally. The problem with all such efforts, though, is that they do not create a plan which can sustainably deal with the humongous scale of this adversity - 100 million street children. LettuceBee Kids solves this problem by tying business principles together with social empathy to generate a globally replicable economically sustainable social enterprise model.
Team

Founding Story

LettuceBee Kids is the brainchild of Sarah Adeel, who is the director and co-founder of the organization. As someone who grew up with foster parents herself, Sarah had always been looking for a way to improve the lives of the under-privileged. As an architectural research student at Rhode Island School of Design, she explored family and community structures, examining how a prosperous and sustainable social structure could take physical form through design. There was not a single "Eureka" moment; rather the story of LettuceBee Kids was the result of sustained thought and effort towards a goal - much like the goals of the organization itself.

Team

LettuceBee Kids Team: Sarah Adeel: Director | Co-Founder - Architect & Designer. Haseeb Shaikh: Business Analyst | Strategist | Co-founder - Materials Engineer. Mustafa Saeed: E-Commerce | Retail - IT Graduate. Faraz Khan: Marketing | Partnerships - Sales Engineer. Saima Tariq: Operations | Management - Mechatronics Engineer. Usman Tariq: Production | Quality - Product Designer & Architect. Alina Akbar: Design - Arts Graduate. Advisory Board: Aly Khalifa: Co-Founder - DesignBox LLC. Asad Jamal: Chairman - ePlant Ventures. Gordon Bloom: Founder | Director - Social Entrepreneurship Collaboratory, Harvard. Saad Amanullah Khan: Founder | CEO - Alamut Consulting. Rob Burns: Co-Founder - PredictifyMe | Lux Research. Sasha Dichter: Chief Innovation Officer - Acumen Fund. Dr. Zeeshan Usmani: Co-Founder - PredictifyMe | Go-Fig.
Background
Please confirm how you heard about the Unilever Awards:

Colleague

Please confirm your role in the initiative (eg Founder/co-Founder) and your organisational title:

Co-founder

Which of the 8 UN Global Goals (Sustainable Development Goals) pre-selected for this competition does your solution relate most closely to? [select all that apply]

No Poverty, Decent Work and Economic Growth.

Leadership and the Unilever Awards
Please provide examples of any previous entrepreneurial initiatives you have pioneered.

Our team is advised by corporate elites, who have founded their own companies as well as headed corporate giants, such as PredictifyMe, Lux Research, Go-Fig, Social Entrepreneurship Collaboratory at Harvard, ePlant Ventures, DesignBox LLC, Procter N Gamble Pakistan, and others.
Our team itself comprises of young Fulbright Alumni, Fresh Graduates, and Post-Graduates, all under the age of 35. 3Restart is a venture, in the domain of big data and smart educational tools, pioneered by one of our team members. Personally, this is the first venture I have been a pioneer in at the age of 24.

Beyond your existing team, who else are you working with to achieve your objectives, eg partners, advisors, mentors?

To date, we have worked in conjunction with many corporations to further our goals, including Schlumberger, Engro, Esquire Finances, British School of Paris, IE Business School in Madrid, Serena Hotel, Charter of Compassion, American Embassy in Pakistan, Kuch Khaas, Pakistan Embassy in France, Bahria University, Dutch Embassy in Pakistan, among others.

We have a brilliant team of advisors and mentors, discussed in detail with our team. They include Aly Khalifa, Asad Jamal, Gordon Bloom, Saad Amanullah Khan, Rob Burns, Sasha Dichter, and Dr. Zeeshan Usmani.