Manager Meaghan Pritchard with Max Lukmann

An initiative established by Australian charity Help2Help to provide training and employment opportunities for people with disability has opened its second café on the South Coast NSW.

Ratha’s Place opened in Oak Flats following the success of Help2Help’s first café in St Marys which provides training and employment opportunities for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

The aim of the cafe is to show that disability is a label and that the people behind that label are bursting with ability. It currently employs eight people with an intellectual or developmental disability and will be open on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays for the next two weeks. By the end of January, the café will be open Monday through to Saturday.

Café manager Meaghan Pritchard told F2L the café is providing staff with opportunities that were previously unavailable to them. “We’re hoping to sign one of our chefs up for an apprenticeship which wasn’t available to her until we came along,” she said. “We want to give our people the tools and confidence, so they can go into other employment and so future employers see that they are no different from anybody else.”

The café is accepting enrolments for its 2019 hospitality training program that commences in February. The 16-week program involves participants spending one day a week in a classroom setting with a trainer who will assist them to complete course material required for a Certificate II in Hospitality. Each participant will also spend time each week at Ratha’s Place where they will have the opportunity to gain practical work experience.

Help2Help is an Australian charity originally established to assist impoverished communities in Cambodia through education and training. The café was named after Ratha, a Cambodian boy with significant disabilities the charity helped get urgent medical attention in 2011.

Caption: Cafe manager Meaghan Pritchard with Max Lukmann.

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