This cafe run by disabled staff is getting ready to go more places!
From menu cards printed in Braille to lights that tell a staff member when a customer is calling for them, the Mitti Cafe at Hubbali in Karnataka, has many touches to enable the disabled staff to communicate with customers.
Staff made up of people with range of disabilities
Mitti Cafe is run by people with many kinds of disabilities, like visual and hearing impairment to Asperger’s and to Down’s syndrome. The founder of this new enterprise is 24-year-old Alina Alam, who wants to empower people with physical and mental disabilities.
Alam's eyes were opened to the potential of people with disabilities during an internship with Samarthanam Trust for the Disabled in Bengaluru. Alam wanted to start a social enterprise that engages the disabled people in an empowered setup. That led to the idea of Mitti Cafe.
She is happy that the enterprise has changed the lives of many disabled people for the better. The first branch was opened at Deshpande foundation in the B.V.B. College of Engineering and Technology campus in 2017. Alam struggled for funding and getting the right supply chain. She finally started off with crowdfunded money and borrowed or used resources, like a fridge and mixer.
Aims to run cafe on franchise model
Mitti Café has already opened two more branches at DET on Airport Road and one at Kittel College. Today, Mitti café has 26 employees, of whom 23 are disabled people. About 600-700 people visit the three cafes everyday. Alam plans to start six more cafes across Bengaluru this year.