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This Mumbai cafe run by differently abled people brews new change

From Thursday, 12 youngsters will run Café Arpan in Juhu, the second such restaurant in the city to be operated by people with developmental disabilities .

mumbai Updated: Aug 02, 2018 13:48 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Mumbai cafe,Juhu cafe,cafe run by differently abled people
The same set of individuals also started a one-of-its-kind lunch box service in 2015. (HT Photo)

In a show of grit and perseverance, 12 youngsters with developmental disabilities have embarked on another fairy tale journey to break stereotypes.

Come Thursday, they will run Café Arpan in Juhu— the second such restaurant in the city to be operated by the differently abled people.

The 12 people also pioneered the city’s first successful lunch box service run by those with learning disabilities in 2015.

Arpan has been set up by a a non-government organisation (NGO), Yash Charitable Trust, with the mission of enhancing the quality of life of people with developmental and intellectual disabilities such as Down’s Syndrome and autism.

The concept of such a café was inspired by Puzzle Café in Manila, Philippines, which was started by the family of Jose Canoy, an autistic boy, to give a chance to differently-abled people to showcase their professional prowess.

“Café Arpan has become a natural extension of the dabba delivery business as demand and its reputation steadily has grown along with the skills and confidence of the ever-cheerful Arpan team,” said Sushma Nagarkar, managing trustee of Yash Charitable Trust, and a parent of a youth with developmental disability.

Nagarkar said the cafe, apart from serving healthy snack options, juices, tea and coffee, will host jam sessions with singers, instrument players and classical dance performers.

“In fact, we have a musical group, named Tarang, which consists of harmonium, sitar, banjo and tabla players as well as Bharatnatyam dancers.

Some of the dishes served by café will be videshi vada pav, raste wala sada sandwich, airport wala special sandwich, exotic kachumber salad, garam chai and lemon iced chai. Ashaita Mahajan, Nagarkar’s niece who also spearheaded the project, said these dishes are easy to make, and will involve minimal cooking and stove work.

“We believe that patients with autism and other developmental disorders have a lot to offer, if we channelise their strengths and talents. Although these individuals, with different spectrum of higher or lower function ability, learn at their subjective speeds, they deserve a chance to prove themselves beyond shelters,” Ashaita added.

First Published: Aug 02, 2018 11:23 IST