The future of Brownies & Downies is hanging in the balance after a home affairs mix-up caused the owner of the much-loved establishment to be banned from South Africa for five years.
The café on the corner of Long Street and Prestwich Street is not only home to some of the most delicious brownies in the city but also improves the quality of life for the intellectually challenged by evolving South Africa’s societal views and acceptance of these individuals in society.
Brownies & Downies offers a welcoming atmostphere of love and acceptance while providing quality food for each and every customer that comes through the door.
This unique establishment is now under threat due to their Dutch co-owner, Wendy Schultz, being banned from re-entering South Africa due to a “slip-up” with her paperwork at the Deparment of Home Affairs. Wendy may not be able to re-enter the country for another five years.
Schultz is very passionate about her work with Brownies & Downies and feels they are making a huge difference in the lives of young people with Down Syndrome.
“Essentially, Brownies & Downies runs a training programme where young people with special needs are taught culinary skills so that they are empowered, can have a sense of purpose, and can contribute meaningfully to society,” she said.
The process to sort out her paper work has been a painstaking one, Chultz explains.
“I have battled in an appeals process spanning close on two years to sort out my paperwork with the Department of Home Affairs, but seem to hit one snag after the other. Apart from wishing to be reunited with my husband, Brownies & Downies needs me back in South Africa to continue the work that we have started,” says Schultz.
The training programme has successfully integrated 12 people with intellectual disabilities into work environments, with seven still awaiting Wendy’s return to be placed.
Schultz runs the restaurant together with her husband, and the the couple are inundated with calls from special needs schools, as well as families with special needs children, from around the country to start similar initiatives due to the success of the Cape Town establishment.
The impending closure of Brownies & Downies will not only impact the lives of many young people benefiting from the programme, but trainers and other support staff face the prospect of losing their jobs too.
Brownies & Downies is asking for help from any and everyone who can assist to get Wendy’s paperwork sorted so that their doors don’t have to close.
Contact Brownies & Downies if you can assist:
Pictures: Facebook/Brownies & Downies