The Ramani sisters are out to make cafes in Bengaluru & Lucknow disabled-friendly
For sisters Juhi and Bobby Ramani, creating awareness about autism is a personal mission. Nothing is more important to them than that.
Over the last one year, they have been on a mission to make eating places in Bengaluru and Lucknow accessible to people with disabilities.
The sisters head the NGO, I Support Foundation, which works with children and adults with learning disabilities. They want to make eating out a fun and hassle-free experience for people with disabilities and their families.
Juhi says that they were motivated to start this initiative because of their own experiences. Their brother, who has autism, would take food from other people’s tables at restaurants, a behaviour that is common among people with autism.
The sisters say there is a lot of stigma about disability in India and they aim to sensitize the larger public. The I Support Foundation has been at the forefront of educating cafe and restaurant staffers to assist those who might visit their restaurants.
Over the last one year, the NGO has successfully changed 15 eating places in Bengaluru and Lucknow. Among them are Chung Wah, Petto, Bakasur, Chatpata India, Treat in Bengaluru. In Lucknow, the restaurants are CafÃ© Bewajah, The Cherry Tree CafÃ©, and The Red Truck.
The NGO hold an hour-long orientation with the staff to educate them about visible and invisible signs they may see in children with special needs. The aim is to make their visits comfortable.
Once the orientation is completed, each restaurant gets a yellow-coloured sticker which is a sign that the place is disabled-friendly. This is to inform families and start a conversation as well.
The sisters hope to take the initiative across India and make more public spaces disabled-friendly.