Inclusive Coffee Barista Skills Fair

On March 29, 2021, Inclusive Coffee Barista Skills Fair was conducted for the first time in Nepal at National Coffee Academy, Barista School,  Balkumari. Organized by Light for the World, ICCO-Part of Cordaid & National Federation of the Disabled-Nepal (NFDN), the event was an initiative to connect skilled coffee baristas with hearing impairments to prospective employers. This event is part of the ongoing initiative to promote disability inclusive coffee value chain in Nepal.

Inclusive Coffee Barista Skills Fair

National Coffee Academy, which doubles as a school for coffee baristas, is one of the first accessible training venues. It has been instrumental in supporting and empowering youths with hearing impairment gain skills that can improve their employability in the coffee sector.  Globally, over 2.25 billion cups of coffee are consumed daily and an estimated 505,200 people were employed as coffee servers (2016). In Nepal alone, an estimated 2-3 new cafés open every month (2019) creating a huge demand for coffee and skilled baristas. However, when it comes to disability inclusion only a handful of cafés are accessible for wheelchair users; and far less opportunities for people with disability to be gainfully employed within the sub-sector.

The Inclusive Skills Fair was thus targeted at connecting skilled baristas with disability to prospective employers such as independent café owners, hotels, restaurants and stakeholders in the hospitality sector. According to a study conducted by NFDN in mid 2020, nearly 60% of people with disability lost their previous jobs due to the pandemic. So, this new sets of skills can allow these youths to get dignified and promising jobs in the future.

In addition to the Skills Fair, the organizers have also developed a training manual specifically adapted for people with disability to make the training content more inclusive.

Bidyanath Bhurtel, Country Manager for ICCO-Part of Cordaid

“This is only the beginning of this inclusive journey. We will support more people with disabilities gain marketable skills through trainings and certification to create fair employment opportunities for them in the coffee sector. We will complement that initiative through lobby and advocacy to create an enabling work environment for people with disabilities, and sensitization of stakeholders to disability issues to encourage them to hire more people with disabilities in their businesses.”

Murali Padmanabhan, Inclusion Advisor, Light for the World:

“Inclusion is possible when opportunities are created with sensitive approach. Nothing is impossible when we have a positive mindset. People with disability are very much part of the mainstream society and cannot be isolated rather should be included.”


As of 1st January 2021 ICCO has joined forces with Cordaid and continues as one organization under the name Cordaid.

ICCO’s international website will remain online for the time being and can be visited here or go to Cordaid: