Inclusive Coffee Barista Skills Fair was conducted for the first time in Nepal at National Coffee Academy, Barista School, Balkumari, recently in Kathmandu. Organized by Light for the World, ICCO-Part of Cordaid& National Federation of the Disabled-Nepal (NFDN), the event was an initiative to connect skilled Coffee Baristas with hearing impairments to prospective employers, as part of the ongoing initiative to promote a disability-inclusive coffee value chain in Nepal.
National Coffee Academy, which doubles as a school for Coffee Baristas, is one of the first accessible training venues and has been instrumental in supporting and empowering youths with hearing impairment to gain skills that can improve their employability in the coffee sector.
Globally, over 2.25 billion cups of coffee are consumed daily and an estimated 505,200 people were employed as coffee servers (2016).In Nepal alone, an estimated 2-3 new cafés open every month(2019) creating a huge demand for coffee and skilled baristas. However, when it comes to disability inclusion only a handful of café/outlets are accessible for wheelchair users; and far fewer opportunities for people with disability to be gainfully employed within the sub-sector.
The Inclusive skills fair was thus targeted at connecting skilled baristas with disabilities to prospective employers such as independent café owners, hotels, restaurants and stakeholders in the hospitality sector. According to a study conducted by NFDN in the middle of the year-2020, nearly 60% of people with disabilities lost their previous jobs due to the pandemic. So, these new sets of skills can allow these youths to get dignified and promising jobs in the future.
In addition to the skills fair, the organizers have also developed a training manual specifically adapted for people with disabilities to make the training content more inclusive.
Bidyanath Bhurtel, Country Manager for ICCO shared, “This is only the beginning of this inclusive journey. We will support more people with disabilities to gain marketable skills through training and certification to create fair employment opportunities for them in the coffee sector. We will complement that initiative through lobby/advocacy to create an enabling work environment for people with disabilities, and sensitization of stakeholders to disability issues to encourage them to hire more people with disabilities in their businesses."
Murali Padmanabhan, Inclusion Advisor, Light for the World said- “Inclusion is possible when opportunities are created with a sensitive approach. Nothing is impossible when we have a positive mindset. People with disability are very much part of the mainstream society and can not be isolated rather should be included.”