Dining

Visit Hungary’s first café operated by people with special needs

Photo : Balkányi László - We Love Budapest
Visit Hungary’s first café operated by people with special needs

Serving multiple roles for the Budapest community, District VIII’s recently opened Nem Adom Fel Café & Bar is the country’s first eatery operated by people with special needs, as nearly all employees live with some kind of disability. While this welcoming place is appealing simply as a pleasant spot to have coffee, sandwiches, and cake, the café also provides its workers with valuable experience that can be difficult for them to attain otherwise, and functions as a public demonstration of the considerable capabilities of those with physical and mental challenges.

Hungary’s first eatery where almost all employees live with some kind of disability – mostly with mental challenges, Down’s syndrome, and autism, but also some workers are visually impaired, hearing impaired, or physically disabled – is the recently opened Nem Adom Fel (meaning “I Won’t Give Up” in Hungarian) Café & Bar, found in a bustling area of District VIII.
Photo: László Balkányi/We Love Budapest
Nem Adom Fel offers its employees a rare opportunity to gain real-world work experience, and also gives them the chance to interact with mainstream society in an ordinary environment, allowing these workers to demonstrate their considerable capabilities, which is probably the café’s most important mission. Naturally, this works in reverse, as well: anyone can interact with people living with disabilities here, and recognize the valuable roles in society that can be held by many people with mental and physical challenges.
Photo: László Balkányi/We Love Budapest
Originally, this space was meant to be a venue for meetings of the Nem Adom Fel Foundation, since it was often difficult to find a gathering place for this organization aimed to assist Hungary’s special-needs community. However, the facility quickly developed into a café where everyone is welcome to chat, work, study, eat a sandwich, or drink a coffee – and naturally, Nem Adom Fel Café & Bar is wheelchair friendly, and welcomes guide dogs (and all other dogs).
Photo: László Balkányi/We Love Budapest
“We work with unique people and want to achieve a unique goal, so we developed a special curriculum that everyone had to master – this included practicing with the trays, and conflict resolution, as well. Obviously, we pay great attention to our employees’ well being, document their behavior, and try to help with everything we can,” said Nóra Csaba, the Nem Adom Fel Foundation project leader.
Photo: László Balkányi/We Love Budapest
Because of the exceptional circumstances of this café, the ordering system works a little differently than usual: at the entrance, a greeter immediately directs us to the counter, and tell us that we have to order and pay there, but our food and drink will be brought to our table by the waitstaff.
Photo: László Balkányi/We Love Budapest
The selection is simple but satisfying, and quite reasonably priced – coffee drinks cost 190-490 forints, the sandwiches (with Liptauer, three cheese, chicken breast, and salami) cost 390-490 forints, and the sweets (pumpkin cake and muffins) cost 490 forints. All of these treats can be enjoyed amid the modern and stylish café ambience, with a variety of tables and comfy seats.
Photo: László Balkányi/We Love Budapest
We learned that the café’s concept is still being refined, and that there are lots of plans under development. Those working on the project think that there is great potential in the employees, and want to hire even more of them. In addition, they will soon serve hot meals, as well as alcoholic drinks, so the atmosphere will become even more high-spirited in the near future.

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