A cafe named after hobbits of "Lord of the Rings" fame aims to boost affirmative action for those with achondroplasia or short-limbed dwarfism. Founded by Ege Fark Yaratanlar Association in the western city of İzmir's Karşıyaka district, the cafe will both employ staff with achondroplasia and will be designed in line with the needs of people with dwarfism.
The association says they will hire six staff at first. Özlem Özkulak, deputy director of the association, says people with achondroplasia need to work in places designed for them, and they designed the cafe that way. She says they were inspired by depictions of hobbit abodes in the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy. For instance, counters are shorter so they can grab trays easily. Similarly, the cafe's kitchen is designed according to their average height. Özkulak said she hoped similar establishments would be created across Turkey.
The district municipality and state-run employment agency İŞKUR have endorsed the project. Atakan Teke, a 38-year-old man with achondroplasia, says those with the condition are ignored by society. "We are treated like lepers. I hope such places will raise awareness for our state," he says. Metin Bayatlı, another man with the condition, says life has not been easy for him.
"People treat you differently. You get used to it, but you have to endure difficulties. We want people with such disabilities to be part of society [with jobs]," he says. Mahmut Güneş, who will be one of the staff members of the Hobbit Cafe says he has remained unemployed because of the difficulty of finding a job for people with his condition