Northeast’s 1st restaurant run by deaf community opens in Imphal

Imphal: A 24-year-old Soudavei Duomai from Senapati’s Phuba Thapham village is among 15 persons who will be working at the northeast’s first-ever restaurant entirely served by deaf community in Manipur’s Imphal city.

Initiated by Rohan Philem, a social activist and a cyclist, the Khongjel The Voice restaurant was inaugurated by social welfare minister Heikham Dingo Singh in Imphal East district on Monday. 

Located at Luwangshangbam near Liberal College, this unique restaurant has created a space for the differently-abled persons to earn and live a dignified life.

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For the first one week, the restaurant will be running as a trial basis. And from October 2, the place will be officially open for the public.

Speaking at the grand opening ceremony, minister Dingko Singh said that opening up of such one of a kind restaurant is an inspiring example of inclusivity and proof that every individual is unique and inferior to none.

According to Rohan, the idea of opening such venture happened when he came know the lack of job opportunity for the people, especially the deaf community, in the state.

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“A few months back, I received a special appeal from the deaf community that they have not been able to get a platform and inclusion in the society. So, I came up with this venture with an aim to provide employment opportunity and also create a platform where they can showcase their skills and talents,” said Rohan.

Rohan also informed that prior to the opening of the restaurant, the 15 deaf persons underwent an intensive training for two months on hospitality and were taught on various techniques, including customer service and food menu.

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“This is my first job and I am happy for getting such opportunity to work and earn,” said Soudavei Duomai through a sign language.

According to Rohan, few more branches in Imphal are also in the pipeline. Moreover, the team also planning to expand in other parts of northeast region with an aim to employ more people from the deaf community.

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