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Join Date: Apr 2004
Blog Entries: 3
Best Cafe and Craft staffed by the deaf in Africa
The Telegraph's Best of British awards: the winners in full - Telegraph
Neema Crafts Gallery Café
P.O. Box 329, Iringa,
+255 2 62 70 04 41
From the Expat Directory:
Set up and run by Yorkshire couple Susie and Andy Hart from Harrogate, Neema Crafts restaurant is part of the Neema Crafts Centre, which employs 103 deaf and disabled people in its craft workshops, where
they make everything from elephant dung paper to
The restaurant, which is entirely staffed by deaf people, serves fantastic food, cakes, ice cream and some of the best tea and coffee in East Africa. It is a favourite stop-off for everyone, from ambassadors to the guy with hardly a shirt on his back.
It serves local dishes alongside a taste of home, with cakes made to recipes handed down by Susie's great-grandmother.
The chocolate cake and carrot cake, in particular, draw expats and workers from the VSO [the international development organisation] out of the bush to indulge.
A truly British establishment that is fully immersed in the local community.
What the judges say:
In an out-of-the-way place in a country not known for its gastronomic expertise, and staffed entirely by deaf people, this restaurant may not be conventional. But it is truly inspirational.
The food is described by its many fans the world over as sensational, particularly the lasagne and the lemon meringue pie. But it is
the atmosphere of the place as much as the food that enthuses its fans.
For them it is a very special and unique place. As one commentary put it: "Good food, good people and a wonderful cause to boot!"
What the voters say:
EQUASSEN: Neema Crafts combines the best of home-cooked British food – delicious soups, scrummy cakes and divine ice creams – with Tanzanian hospitality and sense of community, where you can bump into friends of all nationalities. Really memorable!
DEBBIE: Fabulous meeting place with great food. Soup and service delightful! It is the place to soak in the stories of the area, meet the characters and enjoy good, wholesome food. Don't forget to ask for an unforgettable tour of the centre.
CHARLOTTE: This is by far the best restaurant I have been to in Africa, and the fact it is run by deaf people makes it even more special. It's a home away from home. The carrot cake and chocolate brownie ice cream are not to missed!
What the winners say:
"It means a huge amount to us to have won this award, it's a really lovely affirmation of how much our customers enjoy the atmosphere, the food and the friendly service at Neema Crafts Centre restaurant.
"It is a fantastic achievement for all the deaf chefs and waiters who have received training and employment here.
"Many of the chefs who are at Neema Crafts were previously hidden away by their families, because of the shame attached to having a deaf person in their household. But now they are able to be extremely proud of them, and their attitudes have been completely turned upside down by winning this award."
Susie Hart, owner
"Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light."
- Helen Keller