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HIV-positive people to run their first café in the country in Kolkata

This is the first batch of 10, out of a total of 71 residents of Anandaghar, that will start a new life. Two of them are women. The NGO plans to start similar projects for the rest once they become adults.

kolkata Updated: Jun 09, 2018 16:36 IST
Sumanta Ray Chaudhuri
Sumanta Ray Chaudhuri
Hindustan Times
HIV-Positive,Kolkata,West Bengal
Initially there will be one outlet of Café- Positive. It will be run by 10 HIV-positive people at Lake Gardens in south Kolkata. (HT Photo/Representative Image)

Café-Positive, a unique cafeteria to be owned and run by HIV-positive people, will be launched in Kolkata shortly. This is the first venture of its kind in the country, claims Offer, the NGO behind the project.

According to Offer founder Kallol Ghosh, initially there will be one outlet of Café- Positive. It will be run by 10 HIV-positive people at Lake Gardens in south Kolkata.

“All these people were abandoned by their families when they were declared HIV-positive during childhood. Offer gave them shelter at Anandaghar, a home for HIV-positive people in the Gobindapur area in South 24 Parganas district. Now they are all adults and need to move on,” Ghosh said.

“To help these people become financially independent, we decided to impart professional training, provide them with funds and help them start and run a cafeteria. Café- Positive will be entirely owned by these 10 people,” Ghosh added.

This is the first batch of 10, out of a total of 71 residents of Anandaghar, that will start a new life. Two of them are women. The NGO plans to start similar projects for the rest once they become adults.

There will be more outlets of Café-Positive in other parts of Kolkata, says Ghosh.

In view of the misconceptions and reservations people have about AIDS and HIV, Effort has planned certain measures to make customers feel comfortable.

“The HIV-positive people will only maintain accounts, serve customers and clean tables. The kitchen will have hired cooks. It will also have glass walls so that customers can have a clear view of how food and beverages are being prepared. Moreover, only disposable utensils will be used in Café- Positive,” said Ghosh. Customers will also have the option of making their own coffee.

A woman, who is pursuing her post-graduate degree at Calcutta University, will be a co-owner of the project. “I have confidence that being liberal, people of Kolkata will help our venture become successful,” she said.

Another woman, who passed the higher secondary examination in the first division this year, said an attempt was made earlier to open a similar café in Mumbai but the project failed. “I am sure our project in Kolkata will be a success because people here do not carry negative notions about HIV-positive people,” she said.

A young man, who passed the secondary board examination this year, said the training was extensive. “I am quite excited because I will be meeting new people every day,” he said.

“People still have many wrong notions about HIV-positive people. Café- Positive is a humble attempt to allay those fears,” Ghosh added.

First Published: Jun 09, 2018 16:36 IST