The places where moments reside

D cafe 16 : The place where you get smiles, love and a cheerful Namastey

Today I visited a cafe and a place which is not easy for me to describe because emotions have choked me up to quite some extent. This is the second different cafe in Lucknow (after Sheroes Hangout) but the first of a kind which I visited and this is its story and a home which is beyond description. 

Welcome to D café 16 at Janaki Puram extension Lucknow. This Amul cafe cum outlet is run by the special children of Drishti Samajik Sansthan, an NGO founded by late Mrs Neeta Bahadur, a well known social activist of Lucknow. The children of this shelter home run the D cafe, the abandoned children suffering from various mental and physical disabilities of various levels. The cafe is just two months old (Jan. 2019) and the children being trained there are getting a chance to face the real world by interacting with the customers. Along with the various snacks and ice creams you also get served a smile, a namastey and memories which are hard to forget. I visited the shelter home Drishti along with my friend Govind and the overall experience left us well beyond what either of us could ever comprehend in words. There are more than 200 special children with various levels of physical and mental disabilities who have been abandoned by their families and Drishti takes care of them and provides them with vocational skills so that they can easily stand up with the crowd with their head held high. 

According to the various levels of abilities of children they are segregated into different classes. The moment you enter any classroom you are greeted with loud, jovial Namastey from all the children. Despite their conditions, the staff is constantly motivating them in fields of greeting card making, candlemaking, art, craft… Things which would easily stand among the best. Their drawings seem so much perfect. Me and Govind had interaction with every child and the moment they used to grasp our hand in a handshake, time used to stay still. There was so much warmth and eagerness. I can’t describe what I felt. These kids are multitalented. Rajdeep who is visually impaired was expertly operating a loom. The clothes were being stiched then and there. There is also a small shop where all the products manufactured by the children are for sale. Be it fabrics, candles, jute bags, keyrings... Probably anything you can think children can make. Right now they are also trying their hands at glass engraving. 

Rajdeep... he cant see but that doesnt stop him

There are also excellent in sports. We met a few children who were excellent runners in state-level and beyond level competitions. Expert marksman shooters who can easily give abled children a run for their money, others who love singing and dancing. Food time is held in batches where all have food. 

The smiles of these children get all the happiness they get from whatever activities they do. It takes a lot of effort to do even a little bit for such special children and everybody at Drishti is wholeheartedly looking after the children. While talking to the Director Mr. Atharva and Ms. Shalu alongwith the various support staff I felt that these people would be really happy the day when these children show even a slight improvement in their condition. Gauge from the fact that I met a girl Malala, who could not walk on our own year back and now she was climbing ramp while holding the railing, that’s the level of magic which happens. All the names of the children are kept by the people at Drishti.  

The creations

That joy knows no bounds
We guys had gone with some drawing books and art kits for the children. More than the joy and smile which they had on receiving that was nowhere compared to the joy which we had while distributing those. At the last we got a group photo with the class with a bit of gulal smeared on the faces of every child. The coming holi for surely going to be memorable to a lot of them. More than that it was ultra special for Govind who had his birthday on the same day it was the birthday of Mrs Neeta Bahadur. This was about the home, now let me talk a bit about the café- D café 16. 

This cafe is situated just in front of DPS sector 7 Janaki Puram extension. With the seating area both inside the cafe and even outside you can choose from a range of hot Chai, cold beverages, shakes, snacks, Maggi, Pizza, sandwich and also something for the sweet tooth in ice creams and sweets. The payment mode is both cash and digital. A side of the glass door serves as a stick-on wall to leave your messages and love. The children being trained their help in all the aspects of the café- cooking, serving with the other staff in the cafe. 

While we were about to leave we were held back, because the children and the cafe wanted us to have a pizza. Probably one of the softest pizza I’ve had since the very beginning. Along with the bill you get a thank you for visiting tag too. 

The Drishti home doesn’t take monetary help and instead requests for materials in case you wish to help those children. In case you’re confused as to what to give to them, the staff encourages you to visit their home and see for yourself and then decide that what materials would be suitable for them. Items of daily use which are used in every home are used here too. 

My and Govind’s journey to visit might make you think that when people become passionate to achieve an objective they do it no matter what. I had read about the cafe on twitter, decided I would visit it after Holi to discover a new cafe. Googling about the children led me to Drishti and just talking about these children with Govind one day idly, he decided to do something for the kids on the occasion of holi. I was busy on Facebook with enquiries and Govind on the phone regarding the requirements. He decided to celebrate his birthday with these children and I think that we had created quite a bit of a commotion because when we actually met with the staff we were introduced as “ the people who were constantly in touch over Facebook chats”. Few of them were a bit surprised to find out that Govind had come all the way from Kanpur (80 kms) for the children to celebrate his special day. It took me just less than two weeks to first read about the cafe on social media and actually visiting the place. 

Wish to see the cafe go places…….. 

हाथों की लकीरों पे मत जा गालिब 

किस्मत उनकी भी होती है जिनके हाथ नहीं होते हैं

D cafe 16 : The place where you get smiles, love and a cheerful Namastey D cafe 16 : The place where you get smiles, love and a cheerful Namastey Reviewed by Shwetabh on 9:17:00 PM Rating: 5


  1. This is such an innovative concept, that textile machine is calling out to me

  2. Shwetabh and Govind,
    While we thank for giving your precious moments to our Special Children, we confess that yours is one of the best write ups on what Drishti Team has been doing for the last about 3 decades. It is written with your heart and soul into it.Mrs Neeta Bahadur, the Founder who started the Drishti Mission when she was only 23, was a true visionary and gave her whole life to the Orphan Multiple Challenged Children.
    We are happy that Atharva and Shalu, the youngsters are looking after these children as their family. That is why you saw love and happiness all around.
    Happy that young people like you and Govind came all the way from Kanpur to meet our children and sure that your generation will be taking good care of the needy in our society.
    Dhiresh Bahadur

  3. Great narration. I hope many such cafes come up as they boost the morale of the kids.

    Kudos to Drishti and thanks shwetabh for a lovely write up

  4. This is one of your best pieces ever because you did something straight from the heart. Kudos to Drishti and to you and your friend for championing their cause.

  5. The whole story is very true and well knit. I have been witness of all the unimaginable efforts of late Mrs. Neeta Bahadur to establish such an exemplary and dedicated institute for helpless and deprived children. I don't have words to praise her deeds since it can't be explained in words but well beyond.

  6. Visit to Drishti is a life changing experience. It's heartening to see the dedication and care by the staff and enthusiasm of the kids. Kudos to eternal Neeta Bahadur, Dhiresh, Shalu and Atharva.
    D 'Cafe is another feather in Drishti's cap. Salute to Team Drishti.

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