We may not realize it, but every act of kindness and selfless giving has a ripple effect. Small acts of kindness generate compassion in the hearts of people, eventually making a big difference. 

In a world full of hate, terror and violence, Ahmedabad’s Seva Cafe is a small ray of hope. The cafe not only provides a wholesome dining experience, but also ends up teaching a lesson in giving without expectations.   

‘School of service’, as they call it, you won’t receive a bill at the end of eating at this cafe, because it’s already paid by the customer who ate before you. All you’ll be expected to do is to continue this kind gesture and make a contribution. 


The cafe is the brainchild of John Silliphant and Jayesh Patel, who also founded Manav Sadhana, an NGO. It was conceived on the concept of ‘gift economy’ and is basically a social experiment to see what would happen if a business runs solely on the core idea of seva or service in a way that it creates a chain of giving, with people voluntarily participating in it. 


Inspired by the spirit of service, this cafe intends to further spread the thoughtfulness among other people. As written in its handbook:

 “This restaurant is an experiment in bringing that spirit of service further into the mainstream community and in inviting everyone to join together in a circle of giving.”


The volunteers devote their time for free and the food is served with much love and care. Needless to say, it’s a perfect environment where one can not only experience but also learn the joy of giving, which in turn motivates diners to pay it forward.


The main idea is to make diners experience the joy of giving. The handbook further says: 

“You, our guests, bring the giving full circle – and your gifts are twofold. First, by dining with us, you have given us the opportunity to serve, which we cherish. Second, you are encouraged to participate in keeping this café alive by contributing financially. Give whatever amount of money feels right in your heart.”


But what’s the financial model of this cafe, you ask?

Seva Cafe works on contribute-as-you-wish model. It’s obviously not a rocket science for anyone dining at an eatery to determine the amount of food they’re eating. But at the end of the day, the cafe leaves it on people to contribute as per their experience. 

But don’t mistake this monetary contribution for the payment of your food. The cafe terms it as a gift you receive from someone and pass it on to someone else, eventually creating a chain of selfless giving.

A great way of cultivating moral responsibility as well as generosity!


The cafe’s doing a commendable job by cultivating humanity and kindness among people. Lastly, it’s vision is perfectly explained in these lines quoted from its handbook:

“By sustaining this café, you are helping to shape a future rooted in celebration of abundance rather than fear of scarcity, in trust rather than trade, in shared commitment rather than selfishness, in connectivity rather than isolation, in participation rather than exclusion.”