An accessible cafeteria for persons with disabilities is all set to open in the Capital

How often do you see a person with disability out shopping, watching a film in a theatre, using public transport or even just hanging out with friends at a public place, asks Meenu Rani.

To build a place that people with disabilities can call their own is the mission she and her husband Samuel Mani are currently involved in. Both wheelchair bound due to cerebral palsy, they are planning to open a cafeteria in Delhi where people with disabilities can come, sit and share.

Recounting how the idea germinated, Meenu says, “While at a bus stop last year, I wondered why it is rare to see people with disabilities at public places. The answer was simple, due to the lack of facilities that can make public spaces accessible for people like us in the city. Since then I am trying to do something that would help people like us to be visible rather than be confined to our house. This cafeteria will help disabled people come out of their houses, meet and make friends, celebrate and be a part of mainstream society.”

Carrying her dream of visibility for the disabled forward, the couple has formed an organisation, ‘Yes! We Can’. Supported by the National Trust, which is part of the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, it is set to host its first event on Saturday to raise funds for the Yes! We Can Cafe.

An art exhibition and fund raising sale will be followed by a poetry reading of verses written by disabled persons and video slides that explain moments which had brought smiles to their faces in the past. Supported by British Council, well-known artists from Lalit Kala Akademi are also taking part in the art exhibition.

“We have to step out of our houses and only then can people know that we exist. Our presence in public places can only bring changes that would help us in our accessibility to various public spaces,” explains Samuel, a Microsoft hardware refurbisher.

“This may look like a small event to others but for us it’s a very big step towards our visibility. At every step, I had to prove that yes I can and that is why we have named it ‘Yes! We Can,’ says Meenu.

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