Afghan-owned café opens in Tehran
Afghan Cafe changes perceptions
A 21-year-old Afghan refugee, Fatemeh Jafari, has opened her ‘dream cafe’ or Telma café.
Serving freshly plunged French coffee, this cafe is becoming a local haunt for Afghans and Iranians, TOLO News reported.
“We always dreamed of owning our own cafe and wanted to make it come true someday,” says Jafari.
“One day, when my friend, Hamed Azar, and I were sitting in a cafe, we became serious in pursuing this dream and said: ‘let’s do it!’ We wanted to do something that did not exist until then and we wanted to be the first to do it,” she said.
Jafari, a law student at Azad University, and her friend Hamed Azar, another Afghan who studies engineering, opened the cafe in Tehran’s bustling Ferdowsi neighbourhood, near the old downtown.
They worked hard to receive a permit from government authorities, a daunting task given that Iran’s Labor Ministry says Afghans are not allowed to run cafes.
They raised money from their parents, as well as their own cash to open the business.
They couldn’t rely on a bank loan as Iranian banks do not give loans to foreigners, even those people with Iranian residency permits.
More than 3 million Afghans live in Iran – including as many as 2 million who entered without legal permission – according to United Nations estimates.