Aditi Verma, a 23 years old, down syndrome woman who is the owner of Aditi’s corner in Navi Mumbai. From being a young kid who was bullied to becoming a woman entrepreneur running her own snack corner, Aditi is truly an inspiration! When in Navi Mumbai, One should try visiting Aditi’s cafe located in Bhoomi Mall, Belapur. Aditi shares more about her journey as an entrepreneur with WOI-womenpreneursofindia.
When I can do it, then why can’t you??
I am Aditi Verma, 23 years old, a Down syndrome Girl whose journey of life started with difference from all other children of my age. But I am very lucky to have such a family where they treated me with no difference what so ever and gave me chance to do what I love to do. My parents came to know about my disorder immediately after my birth, as my Mausa ji is a Doctor and he explained the disorder to everyone. He also explained that limitations of such child and late mile stones.
As time passes I started growing but my growth was not like other kids of my age-I could not speak clearly and my speech was not clear and I even started speaking late. I started walking very late at the age of three, where others were running. And, I had restricted movement due to poor muscle tone. Motor skills were not proper. Due to this, I had no friends, to play with. They do not want to play with me as I was slow to walk or they could not able to understand my speech. They even use to tease me for my look of my face – because down syndrome kids resemble Mongolian face.
In the meantime, I was diagnosed with three Heart ailments, major was a hole in my heart. I use to get blue, even by little physical exertion. I had gone through Open Heart Surgery at the age of 2 years 6 months. After surgery, things started getting little better for my growth. I started walking.
Then my school journey started, it was also not very pleasant. Due to my disorder neither my classmate nor my teacher took me seriously. At times teacher use to shout at me for not being able to do the class work properly and I use to cry. My parent realised my situation and took me to special school – Vatsalya at Jaipur and from there things started. There I met some other children who were also like me. I started learning the basics of academics. But then, my father was transferred to Pune and there again I joined a special school -Ankur Vidya Mandir. There, I really enjoyed my school and I was 7 years old then. My IQ test was done and it was 57%. In Pune, kids in our society also helped me; they always used to join me for playing or birthday parties. Things started improving for me.
Later my father shifted to Navi Mumbai; here I joined a special school Swami Brahmanand Pratishthan at CBD Belapur, Navi Mumbai. This is the place where I grew up, learned my language, my Arithmetic, participated in sports, rangoli, dramatics and dance. I also won many prizes in sports, dance & drama. I grabbed –
- Best Student Award for the year 2010.
- Best Artist at state level in Inter-School Drama Competition for Special Schools in the year 2012.
Later on at age of 18, I was transferred from school to vocational section. Here we all students were trained in day-to-day routine, handicraft, kitchen work; cooking and we were also taught how to handle money and how to do purchasing. I made a lot of friends in this school and my teachers were also very friendly to me.
In due course, I developed interest in cooking & baking; music & dancing. I use to take out recipes on YOU TUBE and cook different dishes. I bake cakes for everyone birthday in the family or any occasion. After Vocational, I use to go to my father’s office and learned data entry, but did not enjoy it much. I always wanted to do something of my own and show to everyone that I can do it.
I always use to watch the chaiwala coming to our offices and serve tea. One day I told my mother that why not I also bring tea from home and serve in all offices. This was the point when my Mother got the Idea of Aditi’s Corner. My parents and my younger brother Aman, who is doing B Tech from Chennai, gifted me Aditi Corner on 1st Jan 2016.
Aditi’s Corner is a Snack Junction; here we serve Sandwiches, Egg Preparations, Home-made Lunch, Tea, Coffee, Soup, Cold drinks and biscuits etc. I have two support staff in my café.
I don’t think there was any difficulty I faced in starting my business, as I was busy to learn the trait of business and kept doing my work sincerely and honestly. I feel – to achieve anything, one should just keep doing his/her job focused. I also feel that – I am enjoying and happy about all that I do and that might be the reason.
My first sale was to my school Director – Mrs.Shirish Poojari and my school principal – Mrs.Sukanya Venkataraman. I was so happy that they cut the ribbon of my Café and been my first customers. The first sale amount was Rs 250.00.
I was very fond of one TV show ‘Amul Master Chef’ and great fan of The Chef – Vikas Khanna. For me & Aditi’s Corner – 14th Dec’17 was great day because he visited my café!
I find there is a very positive change in myself as an entrepreneur. Now I am more active, able to do more physical work, able to focus more on assignments. I am happy that I am able to keep up all accounts, stocks and client’s requirements of my own. Of course it took a little time and support of everyone but today I am doing independently and confidently!
I wish to expand this Aditi’s Corner and make it a platform, where I can support other children, who are Special Children and not getting opportunity to come out and show their capabilities.
I want to tell or request all parents of special kids to trust their child, give them chance and allow them to do what they want to do. Or send them to me I will train them!
I must also tell, all my clients were very supportive and cooperative. Everyone loves me! My achievements are –
- I am elected as Office Bearer from Navi Mumbai for Self Advocates Forum of India in year 2016
- I have attended 1st India International Down syndrome Conference 2017 at Delhi and read the paper on behalf of SAFI – Journey towards Empowerment of Persons with Intellectual and Development Disabilities in India.
- Recently, Delhi Govt. has honoured me on Women’s Day.
I have been accredited with following awards:
- Lokmat has conferred me with – “Lokmat Sakhi Samman Award for Business” year 2017.
- Rotary Club of New Mumbai Seaside has conferred me with award for – “Entrepreneurship beyond Challenges” for the year 2017.
I wish to share that recently following ‘websites’ have covered my story and I have been receiving lot of love, support and encouragement from all over the country and abroad.
Lastly and most importantly, I want to thank my parents and family for their unconditional support, all my teachers for their love they have showered on me. Thanks to all the hard work they have done to make me understand 2+2=4! Thanks to all our school support staff for serving us, our school bus driver bhaiyas and all friends! Without their support and encouragement I could have never ever reached to this level where I am today.
And their continuous support has given me so much confidence that I am sure to move forward in my life and take others also with me. Thanks!
Thank you Aditi. You are truly an archiver! We would like to appreciate your family for being supportive through out your journey. We hope parents with down syndrome kids would gain more confidence on knowing your success story! Also, WOI wishes Aditi’s corner to reach more customers and become their favourite snacking zone.
And, we are glad to feature your business journey on WOI. We wish you all the best for your future endeavours. Keep Inspiring.
If you are a woman entrepreneur and like to be featured on WOI, reach us here