Cafes are not only for people to order coffees and cakes. They are where people from all backgrounds of the society come together, carrying their own stories like secrets, only until they are told and shared. While hot cakes are the perfect accompaniment to knowing and sharing such inspiring stories, these cafes in India are going behind the scenes to change the cafe culture in India by telling people their own stories, in their unique ways. By Shubhanjana Das

1. Sheroes Hangout, Lucknow

The cafe run by acid attack survivors. This has become the tagline of the cafe, and for a good reason. The women running the show are survivors of life-threatening acid attacks but have come way ahead of that and conquered what the world thought would be their weakness. The cafe is run by only acid attack survivours who come from different walks of life, backgrounds, as well as economic position. The open-space structure of the cafe is aimed at social integration, something that has been at the building rubric of the cafe all along. Here’s to the OG #sheroes.

2. Cafe ICanFlyy, Kolkata

Run by special-needs individuals from the spectrum, Cafe ICanFlyy in Kolkata has joined the effort to normalise employment of people with special needs in an environment where it was getting increasingly difficult for them to do so. The place is quirky and fun, and allows working parents to take their children with them to play at the children’s area while they can work in the other section of this 50-seater cafe.

3. Third Eye Cafe, Mumbai

Third Eye Cafe in Mumbai is paving the way towards the social integration of transgenders by employing them to work in the cafe. Aimed at breaking stereotypes and making respectable employment opportunities for transgenders simpler, Third Eye Cafe’s secret ingredient is a lot of love and compassion that never goes unnoticed in whatever it serves to the guests.

Related: This Aesthetically Pleasing Cafe In Bir Is A Treat For Foodies