“It is challenging to flourish as a woman entrepreneur. At my cafe, I struggle with a few things starting with lack of workers to criticism from people. I’ve found that many tend to undermine the abilities of a woman and question her values at every point. My friend just had her 2nd child and the father is not in the picture. She too is clouded by social stigma. An 11-year-old girl once asked me if the ‘diet shake’ on the menu would help her lose weight. These incidents, among others, have made me wonder what internal battles every person is going through. I want to build a culture where we nurture our minds and value our mental health.

As a society, we are hesitant to speak up or seek help for mental distress. I know how it feels to be unheard when constantly fighting an internal battle. I too am asked to share my story and to be honest, it’s still scary. It’s hard to tell them without frightening them. For this reason, I want my cafe to be a place where people have someone to listen to them, a friend to help them get through the day without being judged for once.

I also encourage a reading culture so that people can come together, read, share and discuss a book that they love. I hope that with this small initiative, I can help educate young people and our collective society on the importance of mental health. One might consider the opening of a cafe for such a big cause ‘vain’, but all good things take time. Strong women who’ve come before you and me, have ensured that women will speak up, stand up, and transform any moment that we’re in. I believe that I can make a difference, no matter how small. That is what keeps me going every morning; the smell of coffee and the promise of a life-changing day.”

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