Eregli Down Cafe

Project Summary
Grantee : K. Demirel Youth Association (K. Demirel)
Purpose : With the establishment of a Down Cafe, enabling youth with mental disabilities to participate in economic and social life and shifting the perceptions against persons with disabilities among Eregli community
Location : Konya
Grant Amount : 156.390 TL
Project Partner : Eregli Municipality, Etiler Tourism and Hotel Vocational High School, Selcuk University-Faculty of Education, Association of Support for Alternative Lives, Eregli District Directorate of National Education
Period : 6 July 2012 – 6 July 2013
Status : Completed
Project Year : 2012


Students with mental disabilities are able to participate in production through practical trainings at vocational schools and yet they are unable to utilize their potential outside of schools, in social and economic life. Furthermore, there is prejudice against persons with disabilities in Eregli community (Source: K. Demirel, 2011).

Project Goals

  • In Konya-Eregli:
    • Down Cafe, a cafe that will employ youth with mental disabilities will be established.
    • Youth with mental disabilities will participate in trainings to work at Down Cafe.
    • Guests of the Down Cafe will learn about what people with disabilities are capable of.
    • The project will help youth with mental disabilities participate in social and economic life.

Project Results

  • Project website ( and Facebook page became live.
  • Sevgi Down Cafe” where youth with Down syndrome and mental disabilities serve was officially opened.
  • 14 teachers from Kâzim Demirel School participated in a “training of trainer” program.
  • 37 students attended applied training and 24 of them started working at the café in rotations.
  • 7 students from Eregli Down Café received applied training at Etiler Tourism and Hotel Management School and visited Sisli Down Café with their teachers in Istanbul.
  • 9 young people with mental disabilities started working in 2 different facilities in town after their Down Cafe experience.
  • A “Practices Workshop for Down Cafe in Turkey” was held in Konya Eregli to share the Down Cafe experience.


“I love working; it is a great feeling. After I came to Sevgi Down Cafe, I met people. I had a problem with talking before, and here I corrected it. I made new friends. My teachers are good, I know how to get the service ready, and I open up. I learned to serve tea. The environment is wonderful, and my friends are great.”

Project Beneficiary

“Before, my son Salih never wanted to leave the house; he always sat at home, watched television, and tried to follow the series. Now he doesn’t want to stay at home; he constantly wants to go to the cafe. Since he began working at the cafe, he’s been very happy. There, Salih helps the chef, he is learning the basics of service, but most important of all, he’s developing personally, and becoming more social.”

Mother of Project Beneficiary

“Through this project, the young people entered society. They communicated with people from all walks of life who came into the cafe as customers. In this sense, they became more social, and in this way, the society showed a significant change in their view of the persons with disabilities. The students showed people that the persons with disabilities play a role in the community; that they can have jobs and professions like anyone else, and do their work excellently.”

Project Coordinator


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