One year after the launch of the Day Care Centre the truly unique sheltered café opened doors as a fully privately-funded initiative of Maria's World Foundation. This activity complements and builds on the other programmes of the Centre and actively supports the implementation of models and practices that are well-established in other countries in Europe.
The café is a place for work rehabilitation and acquisition of skills that take into account the individual needs of our clients with intellectual difficulties. They thus have an opportunity to practise and further develop their work and communication skills. With its calm atmosphere, food cooked on the spot and first-rate service, this type of social enterprise expands and enriches both the experience of its clients and that of visitors to the café.
The sheltered café is an instrument and, in parallel, a bridge to the next activity to be developed by the Foundation—coordination of the professional integration of people with intellectual difficulties at suitable work places. The café expands the possibilities available to the clients of the Day Care Centre to find work in the future and integrate into the mainstream labour market.
In our daily work we follow an integrated work process model, which enables people with and without disabilities to work side by side. We thus demonstrate an effective and functioning work model whilst the local community is activated to accept and embrace living side by side with people with intellectual difficulties and society is 'provoked' to re-examine its attitude to this group of individuals.
The main principle of service at the café is hospitality, which contributes to a tranquil and amiable atmosphere at the Centre. Staff is free to liaise and communicate with clients at their ease, which in turn makes clients want to return and helps them feel at home in the knowledge that they are recognised and always welcome.
This is the first cafeteria in Sofia where clients are served by people with intellectual difficulties. In this sense, the café offers a unique atmosphere and experience.
As a place for meetings, the café allows people with intellectual difficulties to communicate, lowering their level of isolation and giving meaning to their daily life. In this sense, the sheltered café directly corresponds to the mission of our organisation to work for improvement of the quality of life of people with intellectual difficulties.
In 2015 the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy awarded to Maria's World Foundation's Sheltered Café first prize in the competition 'Annual Awards for Social Innovation in Support of Social Economy'.
Sheltered Café Gallery
Bon Appétit catering from Maria’s World
Bon Appétit from Maria’s World is the foundation’s social enterprise that provides training for young people with intellectual disabilities in the acquisition of basic work skills and performance of complex tasks.
Bon Appétit from Maria’s World provides catering services in formats tailored to various events such as workshops, business breakfasts, lunches or dinners, coffee breaks, receptions or corporate parties.
Entrust your catering to the professional kitchen of the Sheltered Café and give the young people with intellectual difficulties an opportunity not only to prepare the meals of your choice, but also help serve your guests and demonstrate the acquired labour and social skills in a real working environment.
Get the most from our professional catering services and competitive prices. The food is prepared and served by clients of the Day Care Centre.
Revenues from catering services are invested in vocational (culinary) training of people with intellectual difficulties and in supporting them to find employment in the open labour market.