Heal the world…..the song almost became an anthem, had rippling effects through out the world. But has it really? Economic and social inequality has been the fulcrum port of all socio-economic disabilities, especially in India. But there are some who took the onus of literally healing the world…from feeding the needy to offering jobs to the differently-abled, these establishments are dedicated to making the world a better, more inclusive place.
These are some cafes and restaurants in India, that serve food on a humanitarian platter! Indian Restaurants with a cause….
Book Cafe, Shimla
Named as the Book Cafe, this newly opened cafe serves coffee and a wide variety of snacks and beverages coupled with stunning views of the surrounding mountains. But, that is not all. The cafe’s daily operations are run by four convicted criminals who are serving life term at the Kaithu jail near Shimla.The inmates, named Jai Chand, Yog Raj, Ram Lal and Raj Kumar were given formal training by a renowned hotel so that they can serve the customers in the right manner. Aptly named, the cafe also has a mini-library from where you can pick a book of your choice.
Where: akka Bench, Ridge, The Mall, Shimla, Himachal Pradesh
Food on Wall Eateries, Kerala
The Malappuram municipality has launched a unique welfare scheme aimed at providing food to the needy. The scheme titled Food on Wall will ensure food for the poor and the needy by roping in the restaurants in and around Malappuram town.
Prevalent in almost 64 eateries across Malappuram. Anyone can be part of the scheme by making a payment for a meal or two at the restaurant of their choice in Malappuram municipality. Almost all restaurants here have joined the scheme by agreeing to provide meal for a reduced rate. The payment made for the meal will automatically generate a token that will be hung on the restaurant wall at a visible and easily accessible place. The poor requiring a meal for breakfast, lunch or dinner can collect the token from the wall and eat from the restaurant by using it.
Cafe Positive, Kolkata
Cafe Positive,…and it’s not just another cafe in the neighbourhood, it is Asia’s first coffee shop run entirely by a group of HIV-positive youngsters. Located in the prime location of Jodhpur Park in South Kolkata, the shop aims to dilute the stigma of HIV lurking in the minds of people.
This unique venture, is the brainchild of Kallol Ghosh, a social entrepreneur working with the United Nations, determined to set an example for other HIV-positive individuals, abandoned by their families, to come together and be independent, both financially and socially.
Where: 524A, Jodhpur Park, Kolkata
Kalakkal Cafe, Chennai
Established in 2012 by the NGO Vidya Sagar, the Kalakkal café is one of the rare places in Chennai where the disabled can enjoy a leisurely outing. The café’s features include menus in Braille and ramps to enable the wheelchair-bound to enter, and is one of the rare places in the city where the disabled can enjoy a leisurely outing. Facilities in place to enable the wheelchair-bound to enter, this wonderful café is truly an inclusive space for hanging out.
Where: No 1, Ranjith Road, Kotturpuram, Chennai
Mirchi & Mime, Mumbai
Good food served quietly….Mirchi & Mime is a place where their delicious food speaks for the servers. This place is entirely supported by hearing and speech-impaired wait staff. Most of the activities are undertaken by the staff who communicate with the patrons through sign language, images of whose variations accompany every item in the food menu.
Visitors can simply point at their selection and indicate the number of portions! The co-owners, Prashant Issar and Anuj Shah, drawing inspiration by Signs, a restaurant in Toronto, Canada, inculcated placing of orders by mimicking hand-gestures associated with a particular food item. Items in the food menu are accompanied with photos of these hand gestures
Where: Trans Ocean House, Lake Boulevard, Hiranandani Business Park, Powai, Mumbai
Sheroes Hangout, Agra
This café has made itself a place of refuge and recovery for India’s acid attack victims. Started in 2014 by Stop Acid Attacks, an NGO that works to empower survivors of acid attacks, Sheroes Hangout aims to foster confidence and independence in women by employing them at this cafe. Other than serving delicious food, the wonderful café also sells paintings and crafts made by its employees, and has a gathering space for performances.
Sheroes Hangout is one such place which brings general public and these survivors on one table and a cup of coffee. These survivors mostly come from the deep roots of the society, belonging to ages ranging from 13 to 30 years old. Acid attack survivors find hope and a livelihood in this Agra cafe which draws people from around the world
Where: Sheroes’ Hangout Opp The Gateway Hotel (Taj View) Fatehabad Road, Agra
Café Toto, Kolkata
Run in collaboration by NGO Tomorrow’s Foundation and the French NGO Life Project 4 Youth (supported by Kolkata’s French Consulate), Toto Cafe, employs young adults belonging to underprivileged backgrounds are given a chance to shape up their life at this Kolkata cafe. They are trained in a one year course by French volunteers in various sectors of hospitality to run this unique cafe. These youngsters are trained in English, IT skills, communication, personal skills and cooking over a period of one year by French volunteers.
Cafe Toto started in April 2016 with the idea of raising up the suppressed sectors of society. The individuals working at this cafe come from various backgrounds such as orphans, physically challenged, victims of domestic violence and many others. The cafe serves only fresh made Continental and French food.
Where: 30E, Gobinda Auddy Rd, Kala Bagan, Chetla, Kolkata
Cat Studio Cafe, Mumbai
If you are a freak for furries, this one is your place….Located in the bustling suburb of Andheri, Cat Café Studio is a breath of fresh air, where cats roam freely and mostly take long blissful naps. Established by animal lover Mriidu Khosla, this unique café is not just a food joint, it is also a shelter for rescued cats and kittens, an adoption centre and a place where you can go hang out with the friendly felines without any additional costs.
Around 15 rescued cats – healthy, de-wormed, de-flead and litter-trained – can be found lounging here on any given day. The adoptions are completely free and encouraged after a background check on the adopter. The café team also take care of all the stray dogs in the area; right from feeding them to spaying them and even treating maggot injuries.
Besides the cats, the studio also boasts of delectable food, hosts local art/artists, theatre troupes, musicians, photographers etc. and conducts workshops like the yoga class.
Where: Bungalow No. 63,Harminder Singh Rd, Aram Nagar Part 1, Versova, Andheri West, Mumbai
Cafe I.Can.Flyy that started in August this year in Kokata, is a cafe with a cause.The cafe offers a safe and secure workplace for seven young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities who prepare food and work under supervision. The cafe is the idea of psychotherapist Minu Budhia who aims to provide disabled people with meaningful jobs and improve their self-confidence.