24 December, 2019
A visit to cafe Arpan| celebrating Christmas with a difference
Most of the duration of my career is spent in teaching and learning activities with students of various ages.Among them, I recall the, wonderful times spent at Janaki devi public school as a teacher and being privileged to attend workshops related to differently abled children who have developmental and learning disabilities. Most of these children need special educators and support throughout their life and unconditional love .Some of my colleagues specially those who were trained in physical education and clinical psychology had the opportunity of working with these little wonders in special schools and I being a computer science teacher used to envy them.
This Christmas,all thanks to FBAI ,chef Ananaya Banerjee and our team at #wildasperagustable ,that we had an wonderful experience spending time with differently abled individuals and watching them work with their colleagues in a team and making a difference to the overall ecosystem of the cafe Arpan.
Hearty thanks to Dr. Sushama Nagarkar who took this step proactively and showed the courage to bring these special individuals affected with developmental and genetic disorders like Down’s syndrome to the mainstream and make their parents feel proud about them.Such an act of kindness and empathy can indeed make a difference to the society.
Cafe Arpan, founded by Dr. Sushama Nagarkar ,an initiaative by Yash charitable trust,is a small cute cafe in Juhu , run by a team of employees (around 21 ),most of them being affected by development disorders like autism and Down’s syndrome.Initially it started as a tiffin service and later on upscaled to this cafe, where these differently abled individuals could work on their own with little supervision.Their work included cooking,making beverages ,serving to the customers etc. All of them seemed very passionate about the cafe, looked like a perfect head and heart to work atmosphere.Even Arti, the elder daughter of Dr. Nagarkar who is also an employee suffering from developmental disability seemed very joyful and enthusiastic while talking about her work and the cafe.
Our community of bloggers ,homechefs and home bakers were excellent as usual and we all had packed 5 servings of our bakes or food for cafe Arpan which would be sold by them and the money would go to the cafe. I baked some calzones with spinach,paneer,corn and cheese stuffing and it was my miniscule effort trying to contribute to the society during the Christmas. All the food was delicious and we enjoyed clicking selfies with the staff and the food and the atomosphere was very positive and festive.Loved listening to the stories from the employees about their work and how they were passionate about the same.