If you step into Chennai’s famous Writer’s Cafe to fulfill your gastronomic delights starting tomorrow, you will be served with an exotic and unforgettable menu!
For starters, you can either go for a vejetarien grik caled or a non-vejetarian ptalter with mouthwatering grild chkein. Other not-so-healthy options include chees fyrs, crème fersh, grild sambol panir and chili chis stiks. To indulge your sweet tooth, they offer maffles with honee and wibbes creem, ra mnago smudhi, grap soba, pashen frut froyo smudhi and even grin appel lemonaid.
No, none of these items is misspelt. This is just a glimpse at how the menu will look like come April 7, 2018, until the end of the month.
In an attempt to create awareness about dyslexia, the Writer’s Cafe has let the Madras Dyslexia Association (MDA) take over its menu. This will help customers dive into the world of a dyslexic individual and view the world from their perspective.
The idea is to help people understand how difficult navigating through something as simple as a menu card can be for persons with dyslexia in a world that does not comprehend them.
Speaking to The Times of India, MDA president D Chandrasekhar says, “A person with dyslexia struggles to read and identify letter sounds during their everyday life, but there seldom is any empathy from the general public, which makes the struggle far more taxing for them. That’s the reasoning behind ‘Dyslexia Cafe.’”
And so for the next month, the entire menu has been reworked to display the alphabets in reverse or mirror image, one of the major challenges faced by persons with dyslexia.
But the campaign doesn’t end there. The Cafe will also have specialists who will be available for two hours every day, to help answer queries and create greater awareness about dyslexia.
Apart from book readings and puppet shows, customers will also be given memento bookmarks with notes on dyslexia along with their bills. More information about the condition will also be displayed on the LED screens set up in the cafe.
Explaining the prime takeaways from this campaign, Chandrashekhar further adds, “Dyslexia is not just a learning problem; it is a lifelong condition. When people understand what dyslexia is, they will understand their situation better. Dyslexic people have a lot of positives – they are ‘differently intelligent’. These positives are, however, overlooked in the face of a few negatives. If people empathise and understand how trivial these are, then the focus will be on their skills.”
The restaurant is looking forward to replicating the campaign and continuing awareness at its new branch set to open later this month at Tidel Park, Chennai.
It is important to note that this isn’t the first time the cafe is making news for breaking stereotypes and championing a social cause.
The brainchild of M Mahadevan, Writer’s Cafe started in December 2016 and made news for employing female burn survivors. These women apart from being an integral part of the kitchen are trained by professionals. You can read more about the cafe’s partnership with Prevention International Foundation for Crime Prevention and Victim Care (PCVC) to give these burn survivors a second chance at life here.
We salute the team of Writer’s cafe and the Madras Dyslexia Association for all their efforts to create a more inclusive society. We hope this campaign reaches its culmination and helps create an open dialogue on dyslexia, while also sensitising the general public.
(Edited by Shruti Singhal)