February 7, 2017 8:42:07 pm
Did you know? Sheroes Hangout, a café located a kilometre away from the Taj Mahal in Agra, is run by a bunch of acid attack survivors. Backed by an initiative started by the Stop Acid Attack campaign in New Delhi in 2013, acid attack victims embody pride and strength in life and themselves as they serve customers every day. Not just a regular café, Sheroes Hangout is a place for readers, activists and art lovers with the place decked up with artwork intricately crafted by the victims also available for purchase.
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Writer’s Café, a food joint in Chennai works on a similar principle that goes beyond just food for the body, it’s for the soul — the caféteria gives burn survivors a new lease of life! The little Swiss bakery is beautifully decorated with books and cozy interiors.
Owned by restaurateur M Mahadevan, the café saw its inception after a visit to the Prevention International Foundation for Crime Prevention and Victim Care (PCVC) that intrigued him deeply. The café was launched in a tie-up with PCVC.
An idea that changed their life
The idea was reportedly to empower women. “It’s difficult to find new jobs for the survivors, more so because of the scars on their faces and body,” Karan Nanavalan, unit head and the chef at the café told The Better India. However, at Writer’s Café, the burn survivors can wear scars on their sleeves with utmost dignity and confidence. Not only are they employed at the joint, they learn new gimmicks of cooking and baking! From a pizza expert to a head confectioner, they are ruling the café with their skills and dedication.
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Where there’s a will, there’s a way
Currently, there are seven employees working in the eatery. “Even if a woman is willing to join but does not have the requisite skill sets, the restaurant takes her in,” Nanavalan said. “Once a woman comes on board, there is three-month training process. And it doesn’t end with just those three months. An expert from Switzerland flew down to the café especially to train them to make culinary delights from the country,” he added.
Not the hours, but the moments count
From nine in the morning to half past 10, these women work to serve more or less 100 customers per day. Most of the women feel they are free to live their lives again! The painful moments from their past are slowly fading and a new energy is taking its place.
Money can’t buy happiness
Although the owners are delighted that the café already has regular customers making their way in every now and then, monetary gains is not on the priority list for the restaurant owners. Completely not-for-profit, the gains from restaurant go towards rehabilitation of other burn victims.
Where: 98, Peters Lane, Royapettah, Chennai, Tamil Nadu
When: 9.30am – 10.30pm
Cost: Rs 500, for two
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