Grekova Maria Yurievna
Cucumbers are a cafe, where people with mental disabilities work. They prepare food, serving drinks, communicate with guests, help with interior decoration ... Any guests are always welcome here, as normotypical, and "special". But above all, Ogurtsy is just a wonderful cafe with delicious cuisine and excellent coffee, located in one of the best places in St. Petersburg, on the embankment of the Fontanka River.
It all started with the inclusive workshops "Simple Things". This is an open space, where adults with mental disabilities together with masters, artists and volunteers are engaged in creativity and work in the ceramic, graphic, sewing, carpentry and culinary workshops. It was just from the last workshop that "Cucumbers" "grew".
First the idea came up, why not make a cafe, which would be open to everyone, where normotypical people can work on equal terms, and people with mental disabilities, and no one would look askance at anyone. But at the same time, the organizers wanted to make not just a socially significant project, but also a really cool cafe with delicious food and drinks.
We quickly went from idea to implementation.: launched a fundraising campaign on the Planet crowdfunding platform, found a room on the embankment of the Fontanka River, started working on the interior. The design tried to use things to the maximum., made in the workshops "Simple things": dishes, furniture, staff uniform, decoration for the interior - all this was done by the students of the respective workshops.
"Cucumbers" today and tomorrow
The cafe opened 13 December 2019 of the year. Initially, the organizers tried not to focus on the fact, that this is an inclusive cafe, so as not to "put pressure on pity". But if the guests themselves were interested in this topic, they are always told the story of "Ogurtsov", and people almost always take it positively. The majority began to appreciate the cafe primarily for its good (predominantly vegan) kitchen, delicious drinks, original interior with a lot of living plants and a cozy atmosphere.
Now he works in "Ogurtsy" 10 person with mental disabilities. They work like in the kitchen, and in the open area, at the bar: serving drinks, communicate with guests. There is also a coworking area in the cafe., where people from friendly projects come to work. In total, more than 30 person with different functionality: professional artists, craftsmen, educators, cooks, barista. They are all very different, but everyone believes the same, that everyone in the world has the right to live fulfilled lives among other people.
Next year, the creators of "Ogurtsov" plan to open another inclusive cafe in St. Petersburg, and also bring children with mental disabilities to the "open market", ie. create the possibility of their employment in other cafes of the city. Moreover, the organizers really want, so that inclusive establishments appear in other regions, they are ready to advise and even supervise such projects.
The project became the winner of the competition "Living Inclusive Practices-2020", held within the framework of the federal forum "Living Inclusive Practices" with the support of Presidential Grants Fund.