Bonn Restaurant owner Mostafa Elhady gives out meal vouchers to people in need at Bonn's Central Train Station. Every day between 20 and 40 homeless people come to get something to eat. And customers can help.
In the shop window, delicious Egyptian-Lebanese dishes are on display. Stools covered with red velvet surround the countertop. Brass ladles hang from the ceiling. And Arabic music can be heard from the antique radio. When you enter the falafel restaurant "Che Falafel" at Bonn’s Central Train Station, you enter another world.
Mostafa Elhady opened his restaurant here at the end of 2019, and from day one the owner has been implementing a very special concept: people who are willing to pay a little more can buy a voucher for a meal for six euros. Elhady then adds a voucher from his own cash register and supplies those in need with tasty falafel or shawarma dishes.
The owner of "Che Falafel" is very pleased that the initiative has been well received and that people are donating vouchers every day: "It helps that you don't do it alone, but together with the community." The main principle: Nobody is turned away, all in need who ask for it, receive a meal. Even if there are not enough vouchers hanging over the counter. Currently between 20 and 40 homeless people and others in need make use of the offer every day. Some of them are already regular customers. Elhady also used this same concept in his previous business in Frankfurt am Main. But he was irritated with the social climate in Frankfurt's banking district and by the fact that homeless people there got the feeling of being unwanted.
Elhady studied sociology and political science in Frankfurt
Since then, the restaurant owner, who studied sociology and political science in Frankfurt and is currently pursuing his doctorate while working, has been convinced of his concept of practiced humanity. "We value justice and humanity and not money," is written on a blackboard in the "Che Falafel.” The name was inspired by the Marxist revolutionary Ernesto "Che" Guevara. He is pleased that the idea is now bearing fruit and that many customers are taking part in the initiative.
And the restaurant owner is already spinning a new idea: In the future, he wants to leave the business to children and youth groups on Sundays, who can use the day's profits to support a social project. A place to meet and a place to learn what humanity and sharing can mean - that is the "Che Falafel" in the eyes of Mostafa Elhady.
(Orig. text: Hanna Fath / Translation: ck)