COVID-19: Sheroes Cafe In Agra Run By Acid Attack Survivors Distributes Free Food To The Needy

Agra Sheroes Cafe
Agra Sheroes Cafe distributes food among needy: Acid attack survivors, who had been earning a livelihood at Agra’s Sheroes Hangout cafe, announced that they are distributing free food among the needy in the city amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Wednesday, news agency ANI shared a few glimpses from the city-based cafe where the employees have started distributing food to the needy and poor during the ongoing lockdown.

Last year in November it was reported that the Sheroes Hangout Cafe was struggling due to low footfall amid the coronavirus crisis. The employees had re-opened the cafe in October after a long gap of over seven months, ANI reported. Several acid attack survivors are dependent on this cafe for their livelihood but their journey was interrupted when in April this year the women had to shut down the shop due to heavy losses. The NGO, which runs the unique restaurant, had cited financial crisis and a footfall of foreign tourists behind suspending operations. The cafe attracted global attention since it was started in December 2014.

As many as 15 or more survivors are employed in the cafe. Their stories made it to the big screen in Deepika Padukone-starrer Chhapaak. Initially, to keep operations running, they tried online delivery, but orders were very few. “It wasn’t viable, we were left with no other option than suspending operation,” Ritu, a survivor, had told Times of India.

The survivors, who are working at the unit, aim to remove stigma while receiving opportunities for financial independence. Earlier, the founder Ashish Shukla had said that the cafe gives these women a way back into mainstream society but besides a steep decline in sales, donations have also reduced by 75 percent over the last one year. “Agra café was hugely dependent on foreign tourists,” he had said, adding that following travel restrictions, employees were hardly left with any source of income. “Sheroes café, Lucknow is trying to survive its online delivery service. We don’t know who long it will be able to operate,” Shukla had said.

He had added, “We will be taking care of the medical requirements of the survivors. Their skill training program will also continue. We need help to revive the café and bring back the lost smiles on the faces of our survivors. We look forward to restarting the café in future.”

The Sheroes Hangout was aslo opened in Lucknow after a successful run in Agra.