The colourful little Hawaiian-themed coffee outlet, which opened in Damansara Perdana yesterday, was set up to train and empower the hearing-impaired to be independent and achieve success.
The cafe specialises in gourmet Hawaiian coffee and also serves a variety of cakes and pastries.
“My plan is to train my staff, who are all deaf, and later when we are ready to expand, hopefully a deaf person can become the owner of a Deaf in Business (DiB) Coffees of Hawaii franchised outlet,” said owner Allen Teh, who has been working with the deaf for over 25 years.
He said that despite their handicap, deaf people have skills which they can use to contribute to society.
For Rachel Lam, 26, DiB Coffees of Hawaii was the perfect platform for her to grow as a graphic designer.
Lam who became deaf at seven after an accident, designed all the mugs and posters at the outlet.
“Here I can hone my talent and also learn new skills, like how to make coffee,” she said through sign-language, while Teh interpreted.
Part-time waitress and single-mother Sherene Chan, has been working in restaurants for many years and now trains the younger staff.
“I am thankful for this part-time job as my son is going to college soon. I need to save money to pay his fees,” signed the 45-year-old who was born deaf. Chan also holds a full-time job as a data entry clerk.
Apple Yap, 26, previously worked in various bakeries and is happy with her new position as chief baker at the cafe because she gets to try out new recipes.
Among her new “creations” are the sunflower and cranberry walnut bun, and the Hawaii coconut bread.
“Look forward, set a goal, be independent and don't be lazy. There will be challenges, but don't be too proud to work hard,” signed Yap.
DiB Coffees of Hawaii is located at 11-A, Jalan PJU 8/5A, Bandar Damansara Perdana. Its opening hours are from 7.30am to 10pm, seven days a week.