By Arabdha Sudhir
The first thing you notice about Chashah and Judy is how unpretentious and down to earth they are! It can´t be easy staying so focused on a social impact cause – in a world that´s increasingly measured in terms of time and money. But these girls make it seem so easy and as Judy likes to put it she “cannot think of any other way to exist”.
What this duo is working on is the perfect mix of tech, business and social impact. Their startup – Azadi 3D aims to target not just developing countries, but rural areas within developing countries. This is because basic goods often do not reach these areas. With 3D printing, basic goods can be printed within the areas and supplied directly to the local communities.
3D printing, as they put, is very like 2D printing – except it functions in layers. The mediums are varied and can range anywhere from plastic to metals and other polymers. There is a virtual CAD design which the 3D printer then translates into a real time object. The industrial uses for this are varied. While one can see the technology being used for creating impressive designs in the field of architecture and luxury products, Chashah and Judy see this more as simple, practical, granular level problem solving.
Chashah comes from an Anthropology background and has always had an interest in experiencing life through lifestyles, culture, mode of living, religion and traditions. She likes learning from, as she calls it – “another side of life”. She has spent a lot of her years travelling through and working in underprivileged areas.
Judy hails from a more corporate background but has also been raised in Kenya. She is well versed with the problems of her country –both from a practical as well as a corporate standpoint. She could not have been clearer about her vision to try to create a business that makes an impact in the lives of the people around.
These girls truly enjoy what they do. They love the simplicity of working in these areas, the time and experience helps them reflect and think on their lives – they say. The cause is close to their hearts, but also the self-awareness and personal growth that comes with this is priceless!
Judy says- to create a successful business on social impact, one has “got to understand the problems that people go through” and this is exactly what happened. Chashah was at the IE Alumni Meet when she stumbled upon the 3D printer at the gadget and technology exhibit and she had her very own Eureka moment! She could imagine the 3D printer making lives so much easier in the places she had lived in before and she began thinking. Later she talked this through with Judy who also cared deeply for social impact causes and right there was the inception of “AZADI 3D”.
They are in the venture lab right now- working on the business model and doing additional research on how they can take 3D printing to the areas that have limited access to basic needs. This technology can provide them necessities like fridge boxes, mosquito nets, spare parts for generators, 3D printed cloth, bedding materials and much more-transforming lives in the process. The girls plan to move out to Africa after their MBA and test out the market therein.
They talk about their plans, the future -and the passion that they transmit is almost infectious! In a lot of ways, these girls and their venture embodies the spirit of social innovation and entrepreneurship that IE is so known for. The future looks promising indeed with ventures like these in the pipeline. We wish them all the luck with AZADI 3D and can´t wait to see where this takes them!