Bhavesh Bhatia is in his mid-forties, an entrepreneur, national level gold medalist, a family man and runs a successful candle manufacturing business at Mahabaleshwar, all this in spite of being visually challenged.
His company, Sunrise Candles, employs around 85 other visually impaired people for the various stage of manufacturing, finishing, packing and marketing candles. The unit manufactures around 9000 different candle designs starting from small 5 gm candles all the way up to candles a feet high. These include candles of various types like floating, aroma, gel, cartoons, candles for special festivals & occasions candles, chess board and many more.
Since his childhood his problems with vision never let his spirit down. Bhavesh says “I’m the only child of my parents and since my childhood I was unable to see the black board, but my mother and friends helped me with my studies.” After schooling he graduated from N.M.D college in Gondya (Maharastra).
After complete blindness took over him due to retina muscular deterioration, he joined National Association For the Blind (NAB) and took the training in candle making, acupressure, Braille and some other skills. He says “After the training, I wanted to start the business of candles manufacturing, but the moulds where expensive.” He then started working in hotels at Mahabaleshwar as an massage therapist and acupressure, which helped him save some money with which he bought a plain candle mould and 5 Kg of wax.
There was no looking back since then. Today sunrise candles consume tonnes of wax for manufacturing candles on a daily basis. “ Even though God has taken away two eyes, he has given us Ten eyes (10 fingers).”
After he started making candles, he worked as street vendor in front of Holy Cross Church in Mahabaleshwar and this is where he met his wife Neeta, who today supports him with him with is candle making venture.
His son Kunal is now in 11th standard and studies in Mumbai.
Nowadays Bhavesh travels around the country to conduct exhibitions and speaks at a few events as his manufacturing unit is flourishing and he is able to employ more blind friends . He says “I’m being able to make my blind friends stand on their own feet and make them live with self respect and this makes me happy.”
For starting up his candle manufacturing venture other than his family and friends fro Mahabaleshwar, he also got a lot of support from Dinubhai Gandhi, Secretary of National Association For Blind , who offered him some initial funding. NAB Satara, Rotary Club and Lions Club of Mahabaleshwar. also extended their support.
Another interesting fact about Bhavesh is that he is a keen sportsman. He has taken part in various sporting activities like Shot Put, Discus Throw, Javelin Throw and 200m Swimming. He also took part in the National Paralympics, and has won around 32 national gold medals in various events.
Sunrise candles also runs a gym in their workshop for the visually challenged residents of Mahabaleshwar.
In the future he aspires to build a Wax Museum in India, similar to the one in London and also wants to represent India and win Gold medals for the country at the Paralympics event to be held in Brazil in 2016.
You can buy candles manufactured by Sunrise Candle at their website.