Despite all the obstacles she faced and the current political and humanitarian situation in Ukraine, Alina has opened Kyiv’s first social cafe with a bakery in the METRO store. The cafe staff have disabilities. A vision of diversity can become reality, even in times like these.
Alina, what exactly is the Sunshine Café?
It is the first social cafe/bakery, which we opened in Kyiv in September 2022 in the METRO Pochayna Store. It has a social purpose because all the cooks, serving staff and baristas who work there are young disabled people. We are giving them the opportunity to participate in the working world and therefore also enabling them to lead a financially independent, fulfilled life. And the guests who visit the Sunshine Café are supporting them in this endeavour. Our country is at war and, despite all of the obstacles and social and political instability, we are pleased that we have succeeded in launching this project. It is also a project with a social purpose because the employees of the Sunshine Café donate half of the bread they bake to people in need, as well as to the Ukrainian armed forces and territorial defence forces.
How did this idea come about?
The vision of the social project is that we are different but equal. Everyone with a disability has the right to participate in society and to be employed. As such, we are endeavouring to break down society’s stereotypes about the abilities of people with Down’s syndrome or other mental handicaps. Experience shows that employers often have an inhibition threshold when it comes to employing people with mental handicaps because they do not understand how to communicate and engage with them and do not know how to work with them.
And how is METRO providing support?
METRO Ukraine is a reliable partner of this project which is hugely valuable to society. Guided by the mission to be a leading light when it comes to supporting independent companies, METRO provides the Sunshine Café team with a great deal of assistance. As well as providing kitchen utensils, professional pizza baking equipment, the ingredients for bread and pizza dough and decor for the cafe, METRO has also allowed us to rent the cafe, which spans 150 square metres, in the METRO Pochayna shopping centre in Kyiv at a significantly reduced price. METRO’s HoReCa experts help us choose our product range and, in cooperation with HoReCa customers, provide specialist advice and culinary masterclasses for our Sunshine Café employees.
Sunshine Café Ukraine
The cafe serves pizza, bread and bread rolls. An open kitchen is another interesting feature of the store. Customers can watch the whole cooking process in real time.
The store is open to cafe guests, customers and employees of the METRO store from 10 am to 6 pm. There is also the option of placing orders online and arranging delivery: Sunshine Café