Inclusive For Those Excluded

Photo Credit: Saksham Gangwar

Photo Credit: Saksham Gangwar

In my city, one of the mainstream global café chains has just opened its doors and the place is packed. Given that my life currently revolves around launching The Cup, a café exclusively for the benefit of the thousands of women in my community who are trapped in the sex trade, I became curious as to how this ‘superstar’ of cafés seeks to position itself in the market. 

Initially, my speculation led me to thinking their value statement would be concerned with providing the ‘best’. The best coffee. The best environment. The best service. It would make sense considering that the clientele are usually wearing the best clothes, have the best jobs and the best access to opportunity. I was surprised when I searched online and found that their values revolved around the following:


Not in my city. The women in my community would be excluded by the high profit margin pricing strategy, and by their involvement in the sex trade, even though their involvement is often involuntary. It is unlikely they would be respected or given a warm greeting as they exist in a system that seems reluctant to challenge social norms. 

The Cup will be different. In The Cup, we are disrupting the ‘us and them’. These women will experience respect and inclusion. They will belong, and their dignity will be upheld. The distinction between us and them will be further undermined, as our café staff will also be women from the community. Women who have experienced sexual exploitation directly or indirectly. Women who have witnessed and known great injustice will demonstrate that freedom is not an abstract concept, it is real and achievable. It is theirs for the taking. 

Photo Credit: Loren Joseph

Photo Credit: Loren Joseph

My dream would be to see The Cup become community led. Where women can give freedom a try. Do a shift in the café and experience something different. Attend a café workshop and discover their hidden talents and alternative avenues for income. Maybe even start their own micro-business… 

I have big dreams and I will not settle for less because with ‘his’ power, I can achieve infinitely more than my wildest dreams. I think I will place my confidence in the one who created the universe, parted the Red Sea, made a donkey speak (!), walked on water and fed 5,000+ with 5 loaves and 2 fish. Not to forget defeating death of course. Therefore, I will dare to hope that lives and community will be transformed.

Watch this space…

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Crystal Russell