Kolkata: Asia’s first cafe run exclusively by HIV-positive staff has opened in Kolkata. ‘Cafe positive’ aims to spread awareness and generate employment for HIV-positive people. The staff consists of 7 teenagers, all of whom are HIV-positive.
The owner of the cafe, Kallol Ghosh also founded Anandaghar, an NGO which works with children affected with mental health and HIV positive people. He was inspired by a cafe in Frankfurt which was completely run by HIV-positive people.
“Where will these kids go? As per juvenile justice law, one cannot stay at a home after 18 years of age. After the homes, where will the kids go? They need employment” said Kallol Ghosh to India Today.
However, Ghosh said the reaction to the cafe has not always been positive. “Some people get uncomfortable. If they come and get to know that the staff is HIV positive, we explain everything to them and the majority stay back. However, some leave as well,” said Ghosh.
Ghosh said that in the beginning, the neighbors of the cafe were skeptical but soon realized that HIV-positive people are like all other humans.
“One problem I faced was with a chef. I am opening more such cafes, I need professional help to help these kids. I have been told by a chef that his family objects to the place, hence he won’t join” said Ghosh.
The main aim of the cafe is to not only spread awareness on HIV and about the people who have been suffering from HIV but also provide employment to the people.
The place is known for its coffee and sandwiches and is typically buzzing with professionals, college students, and young adults.