We love writing about food, but when food brings together people for something as heartwarming as this, that makes our job all the more rewarding.
The heartening thing we are talking about happened towards the end of last month as The Coffee Shrub, located at Male’ Grand and serving specialty coffees and homemade pastries, became the first inclusive café’ in the country.
The story begins with Miyaheli, an annual social innovation camp for youths run by UNDP Maldives in collaboration with partners. Teams compete, present innovative solutions for developmental challenges, and then winners receive seed funding to pull off their winning ideas.
Team Silent Coffee are the runner-ups of Miyaheli 2019 and their idea was to introduce the silent café concept in the Maldives in an effort to break down the barrier between the hearing impaired community and the hearing community.
The Coffee Shrub is providing their café as a platform for Team Silent Coffee, and under this partnership, the team has successfully trained hearing impaired baristas and implemented a silent menu at the café. The Coffee Shrub on the other hand is taking it a bit further by setting a standard by which all their baristas speak sign language, fully embracing the silent coffee culture.
According to The Coffee Shrub’s accounts on social media, “Our joint vision is that our customers try sign language as much as possible and that we mainstream the inclusive culture at the workplace across the Maldives.”
We think all of this is really cool, and congratulate Team Silent Coffee and The Coffee Shrub for this neat step towards an inclusive future.