KBA Newsletter December 2018: K' Road's Local Hero

K Road's Local Hero

- Photo of Manu Kahlon by Angela McCarthy

Congratulations to Merge Café manager Manu Kahlon for winning a Kiwibank Local Hero Award in October! The award recognises those whose selflessness and determination has made a difference.

Manu says he was humbled to receive the award and be sitting amongst people who were doing amazing things for their communities.

“I thought what am I doing here and then I thought it is Merge Café that has won this award. It’s the café that is making the difference. I’m just the face, but it is the kitchen, the volunteers, the social workers etc and so I was honoured to receive it for everyone involved with Merge. This has helped to bring focus and recognition to Merge and what we do.”

The philosophy behind Merge Café is to create a connected community and a social platform where people can come together, explains Manu.  

“Everyone is welcomed with service and a smile. We focus on the positive, not the negative. There is no judgement. Instead there is dignity and sharing of views.  We try to make Merge a place where everyone feels safe and everyone’s mana is intact.”

Manu has worked at Merge Café for three years and says he still gets huge satisfaction out of it.
“I have no trouble getting out of bed to go to work every morning. This role just makes me feel I’m making a difference to other people’s lives in some shape or form.”  

Lifewise FaceBook page describes Manu as someone with commitment and vision, saying: “Manu goes beyond the role of a normal café manager, making it his mission to never turn someone away because of money. He gets to know every person that walks in and is usually the first person a customer communicates with. His passion and heart make him approachable and ensures people feel welcomed and are keen to return. He has found a way to deeply connect with those experiencing homelessness, addiction, and heartbreak by making sure they know they have a place at Merge Cafe.”

Return to Dec 2018 Newsletter