Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Kalakkal Cafe, Ranjith Road




Spl. Mugs and Spoon
Spl.Braille Menu

Closer Look at Braille

Donut and Veg.Sandwich
Hi guys. I was out the other day, with a couple of CFG members at a very special, one of a kind cafe called Kalakkal Cafe. This cafe caters to the needs of people very unlike us..the differently abled.

When I reached the cafe, Ricky and Satish had already met and they were waiting outside for me to join them. We walked inside clueless as to what to expect. This cafe has been modeled for differently abled people. It had ramps and slopes which facilitated the entry of the differently abled people.

When we went in and met the people we did not know how to interact with them.Thankfully, people over here are very friendly and they come up and talk to us. We spoke with Anuradha who is a teacher for spastic children and also the volunteer for the evening. She begun by explaining to us how this whole concept came up. She told us that the differently abled people found it very difficult to getting into the regular cafeteria and restaurants, the menu and also trouble with the food.

She explained to us the solutions which they have made, to make life easier for them. Accessibility - build ramps or slopes around the place, Menu - put pictures and also made it with bright and dark colours, also Braille for people who find it even more difficult, Food - easy to hold cups with two handles and also spoons with large handles on them. Most of the solutions seem very simple and can be easily adopted for use in regular cafeteria.

She further told us that the cafe is in a physiotherapy room which doubles up as a coffee shop on the 2nd and 4th saturday of every month. Most of the people who run it, are volunteers. We asked her if they had a tie up with any cafe or restaurant. She mentioned that this is a new concept which is being implemented for the first time in Asia. It made me really proud to know that, something of this kind is being started in Chennai. She informed us that Cafe Coffee Day is interested in adopting this concept into its cafe chain.

We made a couple of friends with the people present there. Santhosh who had finished his schooling a couple of years back, is looking to start a business with a couple of his friends. He is looking to make plates with the use of beetel leaves. We also met Deepak, who has finished his PG in journalism. He is totally into cricket, supports CSK in IPL and also a big fan of Sachin. Somewhere between making new friends and talking to Anuradha we were joined by Karthick Ganapathi and his family.

On the fun end of the Cafe, we saw a couple of volunteers who played music on the guitars and keyboards. They kept the people really happy and entertained. They played remixes of some popular songs.

The food at the cafe is sourced from Winners Bakery. I shared the food with Ricky and Satish. We tried the donut, veg.sandwich and the puff. The food tasted simple and good.

I actually went in for the food, but came out making some new friends. Definitely a great place to go if you have the heart to make a difference in these people lives. I was really moved by people in the cafe.

Kalakkal Cafe is located in No1, Vidya Sagar Formerly the Spastic Society of India, Ranjith Road, Chennai - 85.

They are open on the 2nd and 4th Saturday of every month . Please do visit them. Also if you have the time, you can become a volunteer at this cafe.

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