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3 cafés that champion inclusive hiring

Cake, coffee and chai are prepared by the differently-abled and people from the LGBTQIA+ community in these cafés

(Left) A basket of laminated pastries from Writer's Cafe; and Mitti Café's team with their founder Alina Alam in the centre in red.
(Left) A basket of laminated pastries from Writer's Cafe; and Mitti Café's team with their founder Alina Alam in the centre in red. (@writerscafe and @cafemitti, Instagram)

Last weekend, the Instagram account of the World Economic Forum, @worldeconomicforum, released a video of a bakery that follows an open hiring policy. The forty-year-old Greyston Bakery in New York is a non profit organisation that employs the homeless and gives them a livelihood. Their limited menu offers a variety of brownies and blondies. In the comment section of the video, there’s a remark that sums up the benefit of such an initiative: “Open hiring policies can be transformative, providing opportunities for those facing homelessness and social exclusion to rebuild their lives and contribute to their communities.”

Also read | Delicious cake traditions to usher in a brand new year

There are a handful of cafés in Indian cities with a similar approach of inclusive hiring. Here’s a list of three such spaces:

The Trans Café, Mumbai
The Trans Café, also known as TTC, started last year with the aim to hire people from the LGBTQIA+ community, and offer them a safe place to work. It is owned and managed by members of the trans community. A story on Hindustan Times reported that it opened with funding from Rotary Club of Queen’s Necklace, Rotary Club of Mumbai. It is located in Andheri, and offers sandwiches, pizzas and even thalis.

Writer’s Café, Chennai and Puducherry
The café is run by Chennai-based hospitality company Advantage foods. They have joined hands with special women of PCVC (International Foundation for Prevention of Crime and Victim Care) and SANKALP – a school that nurtures children with special learning difficulties (SLD) and autism spectrum disorders (ASD). The aim of these partnerships is to employ people who are specially abled, and offer them vocational training in baking as well hospitality. Currently, victims of acid attacks and domestic abuse are on their payroll. They have a vast menu of baked treats and chocolates.

Mitti Café, across cities
Mitti Café started in 2017 to generate livelihood for the differently-abled. They started with one café in Bengaluru, and now run 38 outlets in corporate spaces, malls and airports across in cities like Delhi and Mumbai. In November, they opened a café in the campus of the Supreme Court of India. Theirs is a success story filled with grit, determination and compassion.

To celebrate the build-up to a brand new year, how about visiting or ordering in from one of these cafés?

Also read | 5 food books that added flavour to the year

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