Damini- The girl who makes us believe in the goodness of this world.
The first day Damini came in for the interview, before even the conversation began she had conveyed to us that she has hired herself at Mitti ! Her confidence left us speechless and her - hired! :D
21 year old Damini has Down Syndrome. She had always wanted a job, from the time she observed her father going to office.Today she is the Customer Hapiness representative at Mitti Cafe
Damini loves cycling, does some sketching, learns the guitar and is a big fan of Alia bhatt!
A girl with a million dollar smile who in her own words says that “ the world is very very beautiful “. From the time Damini started work she has earned a number of fans and friends alike amongst customers.
Just the other day a customer called us up to ask whether she could talk to Damini everyday for 5 minutes. She added that Damini reminds her of her niece who had Down Syndrome and was very close to her. She regularly talks to Damini and has conveyed that Damini’s innocence, energy and excitement are therapeutic and just spending a few minutes with her destresses her and brightens her day.
Damini was once told that it is her friend Melissa’s birthday at Iqvia and to wish her. Melissa who is the Diversity and inclusion head at Iqvia got a surprise gift from Damini the next day !
This was planned by Damini and her mother.
Walk to the café today and you will be greeted by her where she introduces you to everything that is available in the counter with the same zeal and interest . We wonder where she gets her energy from. We asked her one day and she said “Sandhya”. Sandhya is her mother.
Kirti- Our first employee is now a motivational speaker!
Kirti’s mother called us responding to our flyer, saying that her daughter was paraplegic and asked if she could get a job. She came crawling all the way from the auto and climbed up into a chair. She was mostly quiet during the interview - her mother was trying to pitch her to us - and finally asked if we would take her, because she wasn’t sure if we wanted her. We asked if she wanted to work. She smiled and nodded, and so we did. She became our first employee.She dropped out of school at 10 because she didn’t have access to a PWD-friendly toilet, and nor did she have a wheelchair because her parents couldn’t afford it.
When she started training with us, she couldn’t even hold a pen. For the first few months, all that we did was train her to hold a cup. Now, she is able to count money nimbly, and manages the team with different kinds of disabilities from her wheelchair.
Going from being shunned as a child of ill-omen by even her own relatives, she is now the highest earner in her family. She is invited to different forums to share her story several times a year, and has been honored with awards in recognition of her inspirational resilience. She has become famous in Hubli as a public figure, and is MITTI Cafe’s brand ambassador.
Ratna (29) is paraplegic by birth and on a wheelchair. She had never gone to school and did not know how to read or write. After extensive training @ Mitti training Café and her sheer determination, not only does she now read, but is appointed as a cashier & Assistant Manager! Such miracles in Mitti are result of having faith in people and focussing on their abilities, rather than disabilities!
Bhairappa came to us at a job fair, and we were told that he had been unsuccessful with all the other companies there, in addition to the 7 other job fairs he had previously attended for persons with disability.
At just 3 feet tall, he was visibly nervous, despite our constant reassurances. When we explained to him that he would have to run multiple kinds of errands, he suddenly became excited, expressing his willingness to do any work that we gave him, and even work over-me - contrary to our expectations.
When he started work, he floored us all with enthusiasm, going as far as to do the work assigned to other members of the team - until we actually had to intervene. From refusing to wear footwear to work - he even came barefoot to the interview - he now wears a suit to events! He is quite the workaholic, always taking on challenges and putting in more effort than is required of him - and loves being in the spotlight, carrying water cans and gas cylinders on his shoulders to the applause of everyone around.
He has a great sense of humour and is very sociable, building relationships with each member of the community. However, he is also always quick to stand up for himself and for others. He has been the life of all the cafes he has been stationed at, and is the favourite of the customers because of his warm and prompt service.
We found Rajasekhar - who has Autism - on the street, wandering about restlessly. Acting on an instinct, we had him lead us to where he stayed - with his mother, under a plastic sheet supported by bamboo poles. We somehow managed to explain to her that we wanted him to try out for the job the next day at 10 AM. At 6 AM, we got a call from the guard saying that they were waiting for us.
We took him on, and although there was some friction in the initial stages, we decided to give it our best shot. On the 15th day, he came to us asking for an advance - so he could shave! He started coming clean shaven every day since - completely different from the unkempt, unshaven man we found. Several months later, when we asked him to introduce himself to a reporter who had come to interview us, much to our surprise, he did so as the “Assistant Manager”, and we then made it official.
In spite of his intellectual disability, he is committed to ensuring that every task is executed well, taking charge of everything that we entrust to him. He is very caring and supportive of his team-mates, assisting those with motor disabilities with their daily activities.
Lakshmi is our Assistant Manager. She cannot hear or speak, yet is excellent at customer service and a favorite with our customers. A single mother of two children and only earning member of the family.
Eucalyptus Building, ANZ Food Court,
MS Ramaiah North City, Manayata Tech Park,
Nagavara, Bengaluru, Karnataka 560045