ISP Raipur Bureau : Having an inclusive space for public meetings and interactions could be the harbinger of fresh innovative thoughts in the society. Priyank Patel and his team has come up with an unique idea of coupling the twin needs of creating an Inclusive work environment and generating employment for the people with disabilities. A café run and operated by only the special people. A place sign languages are pasted on the wall for interested to learn and use. An abode where trafficked women can feel safe and also earn a livelihood.
The café employs only transgenders, hearing impaired, disabled and other marginalised people as employees. The staff rather calls their venture officially as Nukkad Teafe because both tea and coffee is served and both are imported, “why should coffee have all the fun?”
Nukkad Cafe chain in Raipur and Bhilai in Chattisgarh is winning laurels, benefits and hearts – all at the same time. Nukkad won the National award for Best employer by Ministry of Social Justice. The award citation given by the President of India mentions the importance of creating more spaces like Nukkad Cafe in India. Priyank Patel was also awarded the Hellen Keller Award 2020 for his innovative social venture.
An Engineering graduate who first worked in IT sector for 5 years, Priyank found his calling to switch to social entrepreneurship after his exposure to the ‘India in need’ during his stint as India Fellow. Apart from running his own café, he is also engaged currently developing innovative and engaging socially inclusive cafes and working space that empowers the marginalized communities, destitute and deprived youth and senior citizen in other parts of the country.
“We aim to sensitise society for people’s rights, creating informed choices, making dialogue happen and forming a sustainable positive impact ecosystem through the café,” says Priyank Patel to India Story Project correspondent.
Asmita and her transgender friends who work as chef and attenders in the café have found the place as their stepping stone to a bright future. A post graduate student, she was always told trans people can at best do street begging.
“I had a tough childhood. It was all about neglect and stigma. We all have hope in living now. With a respectable job with us, most of us have enrolled for further education. Guests are liking the food here and the space is crowded most of the time in the day,” says Asmita to ISP.
With a space included for book reading, a boutique of exquisite Indian dresses and handicrafts, a dedicated space for small performances, an amphitheatre and a terrace for events Nukkad Café is fast becoming a buzz word in Raipur and Bhilai. “More to come, positive things are viral,” says Patel.
Patel recently held a session for students of Delhi University and have expressed his willingness to bring the Nukkad experiment to Delhi in association with the student community in the National Capital.