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Blind Bake Café, in Hauz Khas, New Delhi, under the supervision of NAB India Centre for Blind Women and Disability Studies, offers skill training to visually impaired women which helps them earn a living with dignity.
[Most blind women in India are dependent on their family — physically, emotionally, and financially. Blind Bake Café, in Hauz Khas, New Delhi, under the supervision of NAB India Centre for Blind Women and Disability Studies, offers skill training to visually impaired women which helps them earn a living with dignity.]
There are some stories that really make you feel like, nothing is impossible to do if you try. Sometimes things may seem very difficult for you, but that is just a phase, once you give your heart and soul to it, you will see it happening.
One such story is of blind bake café where all the women working are blind. They may not be able to see the world through their eyes, but they follow the light of their heart and prepare delicious food with love. These women are not just serving food, but love and hope to everyone.
This open air café is located in Hauz Khas area of South Delhi which is run completely by blind women. From taking the order to serve it to your table, these visually impaired ladies handle everything very well.
The café started only last year but is attracting many nearby residents and other crowd from the city. When people listen about these amazing women, their curiosity led them here to see the magic happen. You must be thinking that how these women can cook?
Image source: From Instagram @blindbake_cafe
How they measure the masalas? How they fry and all. Well, once you visit this café, you will get answers to all your questions.
This café is run under the supervision of NAB India Centre for Blind Women and Disability Studies, which is the first and only Centre in India where visually impaired women are made self-reliant.
This Centre provides various types of training so that these women can take care of themselves and earn on their own as their family and closed ones always see them as burden and no one actually takes care of them. After getting the training, these women get jobs and become self-reliant.
In a conversation with us, Mrs. Shalini Khanna Sodhi ji told us her journey with NAB Centre and Café. She is the guide and mentor of these women. So let us take you back a little and tell more about NAB India Centre for Blind Women & Disability Studies.
Earlier, Shalini used to teach in a blind school of NAB. Meanwhile, she did market research on ‘Status of Blind Women in India’. From that report Centre came to know that ground condition of blind women in the country is not good at all.
Blind women are completely dependent on their parents and the rest of the family members. Everyone sees her as a burden because she cannot do anything without someone’s help.
After this research study, NAB asked Shalini to start a Centre on donated land in Hauz Khas area of Delhi where blind girls can come for training. It is a residential Centre with accommodation facility for 30-35 girls.
In this Centre, blind women are trained in various courses like Customer Care Relationship Management Training (BPO), Talking Hands (Medical Manual Therapy and Reflexology, Handicraft and Packaging Training), Home Science and Café Manager Etc.
“Training blind girls is quite challenging as they come from poor and rural families and most of the girls’ families also consider them a burden. When they come to the Centre for training, it takes a lot of time to teach them even basic things like combing, dressing, sitting on the toilet seat, travelling.”
Shalini further elaborates, “After almost 4 months of rigorous training, these girls become capable and start taking care of themselves. We have girls coming from every nook and corner of the country. They want to get training and jobs afterwards.”
“However, due to the problem of funds, it is difficult to train every girl. Also, we do not charge any fees from them. Many girls are still in our waiting list”, tells Shalini Khanna Sodhi
Responding to the question of how the journey of Blind Back Café started, Shalini says, “Every girl who comes to the Centre is taught cooking as it is a life skill that everyone should learn. Some girls did such a good job in cooking that an in-house canteen was started in the Centre, but it was not open to outer public”.
Kamala, who came from Nepal, somehow came to know about this Centre, and she was very keen to learn cooking. She was a late blind and wanted to start her own café in Nepal. With the efforts of Shalini Khanna and the Centre, Kamala learned cooking.
Meanwhile, Shalini noticed that many girls are doing very well in the department of cooking and with the job mapping in the market she came to know that many of these girls can be given jobs in bakery. Then they were given professional baking classes with the help of professional baker.
It’s always been said that if you keep moving forward with courage, doors of new opportunities will open.
Shalini was very impressed with the girls’ work and felt that a new canteen could be started by training and developing infrastructure. Chef Kamala, Chef Tara, Sous-Chef Rajni and Deepshikha teamed up and Blind Back Café started.
All the girls working in the café were given canteen management training and finally, outdoor canteen started in the lawn of the Centre. Since its first day, people are showering it with love and visit the café to enjoy their food in a peaceful and nature-ful environment.
Love is served in the menu here. You order any dish and it will be delicious. If you see these women making a dish, your taste will increase even more. Someday try to cook your food with your eyes blindfolded, it will seem impossible to you.
But looking at these wonderful women, you will believe that nothing is impossible. It actually means “I am possible“.
This open air café has trees and plants all around. You will see Jamun, mango, apple, green chilli trees here. This green and lively atmosphere makes this café look even more wonderful.
Almost all the dishes made here are available in the range of Rs 50-300rs. The menu here includes various dishes like — Chai, Masala Chai, Coffee, Soups, Snacks, Idli Manchurian, Bread Rolls, Maggi, Grilled Sandwich, Pizza and Chowmein.
Also, these baking ladies bake amazing cakes and muffins of different flavours.
Now you must be thinking that how these women handle all the cooking work. Actually every machine they use has special buttons installed on them like oven, induction.
These women touch these buttons with hand and with the help of Braille they get the idea of which button works for which.
If something has to be baked in the oven, the temperature is set with the help of a button and the time is set with the help of Google in the smartphone.
As soon as the baking time is over, the alarm sounds in the phone and the baker knows that the dish is ready.
The menu in Blind Bake Café is also in Braille script. Trainers also keep coming from time to time for the training and quality control of the café.
It’s great to see, read and hear all this. For a while we all think “wow”, but to reach the destination, one has to travel first. This café would have never been built if the women working here had not had that passion and willingness to learn.
With the help of the Shalini, NAB and their hard work, these women changed their lives and make a new world for themselves.
If you ever get a chance, definitely visit this blind café. The smiling faces of these lovely women will fill your heart with positivity and hope.
Image source: Instagram @blindbake_café, edited on CanvaPro
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