Sromona Bhattacharyya Bhattacharyya
Hailing from Kolkata and now a resident of Bengaluru, Sromona is a multimedia journalist who has a knack for digging stories that truly deserve attention.
For sisters Juhi and Bobby Ramani, nothing is more important than creating awareness about Autism, and now they are on a mission to make social eateries in Bangalore and Lucknow ‘Differently abled friendly.’
The duo, along with their NGO, I Support Foundation, which strives to help children and people with learning disabilities. They have recently taken up the initiative of making a hassle-free experience for differently abled people and their families at restaurants and cafes.
Talking to The Logical Indian, Juhi Ramani said that differently abled people go along with their families to various restaurants, where it is often an uncomfortable experience for them as well as the family.
Reminiscing about her own experiences, which prompted her to start this initiative, Juhi said, “My brother, who is autistic, used to take food from other’s tables at restaurants. This behaviour is not uncommon among people with autism.”
She further goes on to explain that there is a lot of stigmas which is prevalent in society surrounding differently abled people. “People do not know what is an intellectual disability and what is a physical disability,” added Ramani.
With the goal of sensitising people about differently abled awareness and creating a hassle-free experience for the parents of differently abled children, I Support Foundation has been spearheading the mission of educating cafe and restaurant staffers to assist those who might visit their restaurants.
For the last one year, the foundation has successfully transformed 15 such eateries in Bangalore and Lucknow to ‘Differently abled friendly’ social spaces.
Chung Wah, Petto, Bakasur, Chatpata India, Treat in Bangalore and Café Bewajah, The Cherry Tree Café, The Red Truck in Lucknow are some of the 15 that the organisation has transformed.
Explaining the process, Juhi said, “We approach restaurants with the proposal, after which we hold an hour-long orientation with the staff.” She added that the goal is to educate people about the visible and invisible signs they may see in Specially Abled Children and how they can make their visits better and more comfortable for them and their families.
Upon completion of the orientation, each restaurant gets a yellow coloured sticker which is a sign of the fact that the social space is differently abled friendly. This, Juhi says, will not only inform parents but initiate a conversation as well.
Even though the initiative is presently restricted to parts of Bangalore and Lucknow, Juhi soon wishes to take it on a pan India level, and make most public spaces differently abled friendly.
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