Visit to S.E.A Center, Kathmandu

Photo Courtesy – Café Mitini, S.E.A Center,Kathmandu

Promoting Sustainable Tourism and Local Industry

My visit to this place was unplanned. While strolling and doing my touristy stuff through the streets of Kathmandu, I just happened to pass by this quaint little café, located away from the hustle and bustle of Kathmandu city in a quiet alley adjoining the Shangri-La Hotel in Lazimpat. The exterior in pure white color caught my attention and being an ardent lover of coffee and local cafes, I could not stop myself from stepping inside to explore.

As I went inside, I realized it’s just not a café – it’s a café with a social objective – one of the projects of S.E.A (Social Enterprise Activation) Center. The S.E.A center is a collaborative initiative established by the cooperation of Korea and Nepal aimed to promote sustainable and rural community based tourism in Nepal. It helps provide skill based training to empower women and make them employable, promote fair trade and provide a platform to local minor producers, local NGOs and social enterprises to market their locally produced wares.

Key initiatives of S.E.A Center include:

Café Mitini

This is a café for a social cause, all profits generated by this café is used to advance the mission of the center, which includes women empowerment by providing skilled based trainings- Barista- to local women and developing skills for job opportunities. The café also promotes the development of coffee culture in Nepal.

The café specializes in exotic hand-dripped coffee and Dutch coffee and also serves delicious sandwiches, muffins and cookies from their in-house bakery which are all reasonably priced – all in a simple, comfortable setting and friendly ambience along with free Wi-Fi. All food and beverages are made from locally sourced ingredients.

Design Academy

The SEA center runs a training academy which provides various training programs at a nominal cost to empower local women who want to improve their skills in designing and sewing, thereby contributing towards the further development of the cottage industry in Nepal.

Shop Mitini

The shop sells a mix of traditional and modern artwork, home décor products, ceramic art ware, hand-woven apparel designed and produced by the graduates of the S.E.A center design academy along with other local handicrafts and products from various social organizations like Sana Hastakala, Thimi Ceramics, Manushi, Mili Kala etc. which work towards upliftment of the weaker section of society by promoting and selling products made by them.

MAP – Nepal: Sustainable Travel Social Enterprise

MAP-Nepal is a sustainable travel company established with the support of Traveler’s MAP HQed in Korea to promote and encourage sustainable Tourism in Nepal. Key features of the program include : training sustainable travel guides and developing travel packages in Nepal, providing support to needy rural villages for the purpose of making a more pleasant home stay experience for travelers and campaigns to promote sustainable tourism.

I would highly recommend a visit to the S.E.A Center if you are looking for a peaceful, serene place to relax and unwind with some organic local coffee, learn more about their efforts and make a contribution towards this social initiative by purchasing a few beautiful souvenirs in the form of local handicrafts and ceramic products.

Address : Rani Devi Marg 152, Lazimpat, Kathmandu, Nepal