Now ‘Orange Cafe’ by acid attack survivors in Varanasi

Varanasi, Jan 17 (IANS) After the ‘Sheroes Hangout Cafe in Lucknow and Agra, acid attack survivors in Varanasi will soon have a cafe that will be run by them.
The restaurant called ‘The Orange Cafe’ is being opened in the Durga Kund area and is the brainchild of Ajay Kumar Patel, who started the ‘Red Brigade’ in 2011 which is an NGO that trains women in self-defence.
Patel said: “We are starting The Orange Cafe from a rented place but we soon plan to get ownership of the place. Our aim is to make sure that the acid attack survivors own the caf’ and run it themselves.”
Patel has been travelling through the state since the past two years to connect with acid attack survivors in various districts.
He short-listed four survivors, who were willing to shift to Varanasi and take on the responsibility of running the cafe.
The acid attack survivors who will be a part of the venture are Rekha from Jaunpur, Somvati from Bareilly, Vimla from Rae Bareli and Badam Devi from Varanasi.
“We are now training these women to cook food, serve the customers and undertake the billing. We do not want them to depend on others for these tasks. For the first four months, we will pay them a token amount but they will later share the profit among themselves,” said Patel.
Somvati from Bareilly said that she was hopeful that they would finally stand on their own feet with this venture and not be dependent on their families for survival.
“I want to ensure good education for my 10-year-old son and th cafe will help me fulfil my dream,” she said.
Somvati was attacked with acid by her neighbour three years ago when she spurned his advances.

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