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Kalakkal Café: An inclusive space for hanging out

October 13, 2014 07:49 am | Updated May 23, 2016 03:49 pm IST - CHENNAI:

Inmates of Vidya Sagar celebrating in the Kalakkal Cafe evning at Kotturpuram in Chennai. Photo: K. Pichumani

Inmates of Vidya Sagar celebrating in the Kalakkal Cafe evning at Kotturpuram in Chennai. Photo: K. Pichumani

Kalakkal Café, run by the NGO Vidya Sagar in Kotturpuram, which has set high standards in making public places accessible, will be open on all Saturdays, and not just alternate Saturdays.

The café’s features include menus in Braille and ramps to enable the wheelchair-bound to enter, and is one of the rare places in the city where the disabled can enjoy a leisurely outing.

It has also become an example for others.

Rajul Padmanabhan, director of Vidya Sagar, said the café is not just for people with disabilities. “Although it is accessible for the wheelchair-bound and visually-challenged persons, Kalakkal Café is for all youth. Any youngsters who are looking to spend time with friends are welcome,” she said.

Among those present at the ‘relaunch event’ at the café on Saturday were a group of Vidya Sagar alumni, some of whom had won awards from Able Disable All People Together (ADAPT), Mumbai. “Often, in the discourse, the importance of leisure is lost. People with disabilities too want to enjoy the freedom of having coffee with their friends, but are unable to do so in our city cafes,” said Smitha Sadasivan, of the Disabilities Rights Alliance.

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