We aim to bring CSOs, Individuals, Societies Together
Inspired by the banyan
As Meena Jain, a famous woman in the NGO-world, went to the Netherlands, she was taken to a restaurant which only employed people with Down-Syndrome. The project SMILEnSNACK is now the first step on a way that will lead towards opening a similar restaurant in Bangalore. MAYA took on this project and is now trying to turn a dream into a reality.
On the roof top of the office building that MAYA is located in in JP Nagar II Phase, the kitchen trainings have started. Milou, Maikel and Jana, three volunteers from the Netherlands, started to work with ten young adults with special needs and show them how to make snacks, juices and other beverages. In a few weeks, the cafeteria is expected to serve their first dish.
The first two trainings sessions are over. And they went very well. It was great to see the excitement of the children. We, the Dutch students, were surprised how well the children participated. The first training, we unpacked all the equipment we had purchased, and discussed different purposes. Not only the children learnt a lot, also we students learnt some new things about the Indian cuisine. It is really a two-sided teaching! We found out what all you can all cut with a knife and the kids went on and on enumerating what you can fill in a jug until we named at least 20 drinks. The second training was even more interesting. We first cut and tried some vegetables. The excitement was the biggest when we started planting what we just tried. All the special young adults stayed very focused and interested until the last seed was covered with soil and watered. If now all the seeds grow into seedlings, we have to become very creative how to keep all the plants on the rooftop…
The big dream is to move to a different place and open a real restaurant which employs people with special needs and thus offers them a livelihood. This however will still take a while. The pilot as a staff canteen is supposed to see the potential pitfalls a bigger project could face. Another objective is to make a training manual which can be used for coming projects.
To make the restaurant happen one day, resources, time, and effort needs to be put into it. If we all join efforts, we can make this world a better place!