Dalai Lama-inspired Tibetan-Indian cafe in Scotland launches fundraising appeal

A community cafe founded by a Tibetan refugee from India and serving Tibetan and Indian food in Scotland has attracted thousands of pounds in public support to prevent its closure.

The Himalaya Cafe in Edinburgh, founded by Reka Gawa as a community center based on Buddhist principles, was inspired by an encounter with the Dalai Lama 17 years ago.

Gawa, the Tibetan refugee girl who grew up in Mussoorie, now has the option to purchase the rented space and recently launched an online appeal to Go Fund Me for funds to compensate for the £ 45,000 she is earning not.

“After 14 years, my landlord decided to move out and sell the premises. I have a chance to buy the business and continue to provide tasty Himalayan food and of course the best winery in town, ”says Gawa, who has already hit over £ 35,000 from the goal. .

“I have very little time before the property goes on the open market. I managed to negotiate a good deal and have collected most of the money already – through a bank loan and personal savings, as well as pledges and fundraising pledges. of my great coffee supporters. Yet there is still a shortfall of GBP 45,000, ”she said.

Gawa, who met the Tibetan leader in 2004 while working at the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh, says the cafe was born in 2007 from her inspiring words about the importance of keeping ancient Tibetan culture alive.

She recalls, “I knew there was something special about this place. I knew it could be a warm and welcoming space, run according to the Buddhist principle of compassion. After all, it was His Holiness’s words that inspired me to open a cafe in the first place.

“I provide training for volunteers in running a community business, there is a ‘Pay it Forward’ program, where my lovely and generous clients buy meals for the homeless. There is also a large room that I offer for free, to various groups, for meetings, meditation, yoga and therapy. We also organize cultural events.

Gawa hopes to be able to achieve his goal of acquiring the place and running it as a community resource in the Scottish capital.

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