Luh Dkhar, headman of Cham Cham community located in Khliehriat Block (East Jaintia Hills), inaugurated the first Mei-Ramew Café in the area on November 30, 2020. It may be mentioned here that all government SOPs were followed during the programme.
A Mei-Ramew Cafe is an indigenous cafe that serves local food and encourages innovation in local recipes with maximum use of locally available ingredients. It is a novel and innovative method of bringing together the pleasures of taste alluded to local cuisine diversity, culture, and identity.
The café, which belongs to Roly Phawa, is an initiative of NESFAS in collaboration with the Society of Urban and Rural Empowerment (SURE) funded by the Rural Electrification Corporation Foundation (REC) as part of the ongoing ‘No One Shall Be Left Behind’ initiative.
Luh Dkhar expressed his gratitude to SURE and especially REC and NESFAS for being able to accomplish such an achievement. He said, “Most of the time, other dignitaries would come to the community and instill many ideas about preserving the traditional lifestyle here. But those things would just end there and no actions would be taken forward.” He added, “On the other hand, I am glad that such organisations like SURE and NESFAS have seen their plans and ideas through such as this indigenous café.”
Other community members, the community facilitator of the area, schoolteachers, ASHA workers, and other custodian farmers who were present during the inauguration also lauded the café and the organisations hard work.
“From now onwards, I will put in an extra effort to come up with more innovative indigenous and traditional meals. I will also ensure that the staff and customers maintain good hygiene in the café,” Roly Phawa, owner of the café, said.
On the other hand, Pasqualina Lamare, Associate at SURE, said, “Our main aim at launching this café is to preserve our traditional food and at the same time, promote a chemical-free and traditional farming system that our ancestors have taught us. In the urban areas, most of the people especially the children and youth are not familiar with traditional food.” “Hence, it was important to have a Mei-Ramew café here and it is also a very good livelihood opportunity for the community members at the same time,” she added.
Somja Phawa, Field Coordinator at SURE, who played an important role in establishing the café was very happy to see the initiative come through. She said, “Our traditional food is the kind of food that helps the body stay healthy. This is so because the farmers who still practice traditional farming system This cafe will allow gaining livelihood not only to the owner of the Medo not use any sort of chemicals in their fields.” “I hope that Roly Phawa’s café will set as an example for other community members here and especially to the youth. We hope that other communities who are not only our project communities will look at this as an example and start something of the same,” she added.
The headman, Luh Dkhar, also handed a certificate to Roly Phawa as a token of appreciation.
This article was also published in Mawphor