Gary Hopkins, a Capetonian entrepreneur is looking to bring the love of coffee and deaf awareness into a quaint coffee shop in Claremont while closing the gap between the hearing and the hearing impaired. Language is a unique aspect of our lives and if you take away the reliance on hearing, we create an inclusive platform for all to ‘speak’ and be ‘heard’. iLoveCoffee needs your help to make Gary’s dream a reality and he has turned to crowdfunding to make this coffee shop a hub for not only incredible coffee, with a collaboration with Tribe Coffee, but a safe space for you to learn a new skill of sign language and give those who are hearing impaired the chance to have a job in the hospitality industry that they can be passionate about. Gary aims to break down the barrier between our two worlds and bring us together with world-class hot beverages. According to htxt.africa, although South African Sign Language (SASL) is recognised, it’s not an official language and poor SASL education and provisions mean 40 000 deaf people are negatively affected. “Customers will be encouraged to engage verbally as well as visually with deaf staff, and will be taught rudimentary SASL to order. We believe this will open dialogue and bring about the social change we need,” said Gary, who has personally been learning SASL for a few weeks. Gary called on the help of the National Institute for the Deaf to source and train baristas, and he has found excellent candidates who share his passion and drive to make iLoveCoffee a success.
What a wonderful initiative, one nation one future, breaking down barriers. I’ll be one of your best customers.https://t.co/DEEJB6f0Zn
— Helen Zille (@helenzille) May 13, 2016
The location for iLoveCoffee is secured in X-Body Fitness Gym in Claremont but still needs equipment and furniture to open its doors. This is where you come in, visit the Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign and help fulfil this dream as a place where the hearing and non-hearing communities can come together and interact. iLoveCoffee has already attracted international interest from a retail chain and has the potential to expand across South Africa.
‘I never anticipated the response I would get from this idea. Cape Town has responded beyond my wildest dreams. We are weeks away from opening and the outpouring from both the deaf and hearing communities has been incredible. We are starting small but the team is growing and we won’t stop until SASL is recognised as an official language, which is the biggest step to recognising deaf culture,’ says Gary.
Keep up the good work Gary and we hope this initiative gets the funding it needs to make a powerful change in our society.
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