Amin lived on the Streets, but now has his Own Café with a Mission!

The streets of India’s largest city Mumbai can be a tough place to live if you’re born on the wrong side of society. Constant daily struggle, abject poverty, filthy slums, child trafficking, prostitution – all  go hand in hand in a tormented, class-oriented society where the divide between rich and poor is a chasm many fail to cross in their lifetimes.

Amin Shiekh lived on those streets, and like many, had to face hardships many of us would have found almost unbearable.

At 5 years old he ran away from home and for the next 3 years he scavenged and begged for food or money, before finding his way to a local orphanage. Life picked up for Amin from that day on.

The Bombay to Barcelona Library Cafe sits in a dense, lower-middle-class neighborhood in Mumbai, India. Courtesy of Bombay to Barcelona Library Cafe
The Bombay to Barcelona Library Cafe sits in a dense, lower-middle-class neighborhood in Mumbai, India.  Courtesy of Bombay to Barcelona Library Cafe

Today he is an author, a successful tour operator, and has recently opened a café that serves to ALL – not just those wealthy enough to pay, but welcoming and also employing local people as well.

Because Indian society is much more stratified and class-conscious. “If I had gone to a coffee shop, this is how high society would think: ‘What is this bloody driver doing here?'” says Sheikh. “But this bloody driver is also human.”

Giving ordinary people some dignity was his goal, and his humble café has gone ahead in leaps and bounds since. His café, the Bombay to Barcelona Library Cafe, sits in a lower-middle-class neighborhood of Mumbai, not far from the city’s swanky new international airport.

Anil Kurup, the cafe's baker, grew up in the same orphanage as the owner, Amin Sheikh. Courtesy of Bombay to Barcelona Library Cafe
Anil Kurup, the cafe’s baker, grew up in the same orphanage as the owner, Amin Sheikh.
Courtesy of Bombay to Barcelona Library Cafe

Good on you and Good Luck Amin – the world needs more people like you I think!

For the full story head to npr

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