Some cafes in India are trying their best to break established norms and employ people with a difficult past like acid attack survivors, disabled people and those who are HIV positive.
Taboos and social inequality in India can be pervasive and there aren’t enough efforts to overcome these even today. However, some cafes in India have taken matters into their own hands and are trying their best to break established norms and employ people with a difficult past like acid attack survivors, disabled people and those who are HIV positive. Here are five Indian cafes working towards a more just world:
Sheroes has been in the news for its nobility ever since it opened for the first time. The cafe in Agra employs survivors of acid attacks, which have become the choice of crime against women who have a mind of their own. Men who feel rejected by women have been known to retaliate by throwing acid in their faces, and many women don’t even survive the attacks. Those who do have been given hope for a new and more empowered life by Sheroes, which encourages survivors to work and learn valuable skills at the cafe.
Mirchi and Mime
Mumbai’s Mirchi & Mime gives hearing- and speech-impaired people a chance to work as service staff. Over 50 employees communicate with patrons using sign language, which is a breakthrough in the Indian restaurant scene. The menu has instructions for how customers may order each dish using sign language, too. Mirchi & Mime served modern Indian cuisine and the menu includes innovative dishes like a kaffir rasam, water chestnut and corn tikki, and paneer tacos.
Another restaurant that employs hearing- and speech-impaired people, Terrasinne in Pune was launched by an oncologist who wanted to give disabled people an opportunity to earn their livelihood without any discrimination. Servers at Terrasinne use sign language to take orders and customers are required to place their orders using the signs printed next to each dish on the menu. Choose from nachos, Vietnamese rice paper rolls, chicken lollipops, honey-chilli prawns or tandoori momos.
Writer’s Cafe in Chennai is known for giving victims of all kinds of abuse a sanctuary to develop their careers in. Shelves lined with books and elegant interiors welcome customers who visit because they can empathise. The menu is dedicated mainly to pizza and pasta, with a few snacks like toasties and sliders also making an appearance. Breakfast here is especially good, with options that range from pancakes, waffles, French toast and eggs. All the dishes are reasonably priced.
A bright yellow signboard welcomes customers at Cafe Positive in Kolkata, which employs HIV-positive youth who want to make a living with dignity and without stigma. The cafe is the first of its kind in Asia and provides work opportunities to those who have been abandoned by their families for being HIV-positive. It’s known for good coffee and also serves pastries, muffins, sandwiches and pizza. The brains behind the cafe want people to realise and accept that HIV isn’t transmitted by touch.