Deaf Youth Excel as Entrepreneurs
Birthed through the empowering work of the Caribbean Christian Centre for the Deaf, Deaf Can! Coffee is a social enterprise managed and operated by deaf youth. The business idea began as a means of simply affirming the worth of deaf teens, reminding them that they lack nothing and can do anything. In December 2015, the Digicel Foundation partnered with the group of entrepreneurs by providing USD$27,000 to upgrade their equipment and coffee appliances and install a solar energy system.
The entrepreneurial acumen of the team has seen them not only expanding their facilities but also training their members for job placement in tradition work spaces. The profits of the business are also used to create a scholarship fund for young deaf boys to enter university.
“Any time you’re doing something good you need people to help you to get where you need to go. Digicel Foundation is that critical partner that has encouraged us and helped us to keep believing in the work we’re doing. Even before they provided the financial support they were clients. They truly bought into the vision,” shared Blake Widmer, co-Founder of Deaf Can!
His wife and business partner Tashi Widmer, emphasized the importance of this project as a tool to build respect for the deaf in Jamaica. “What the deaf need is opportunity. We can do everything except hear so in all other areas we just need equal treatment, especially when we need to communicate.”
As part of the Foundation’s relationship with Deaf Can! Coffee we have invited them on several occasions to engage with our staff to guarantee sale of coffee and to share the message of inclusion and respect for all Jamaicans. Their work continues to highlight the skill and potential, taking the focus off what they are unable to do and shedding light on their capacity.
Check out their website at www.deafcancoffee.com and if you’re ever on the rock, order a cup of their mind-blowing coffee!