Family and Faith Magazine Issue 9, Summer Edition - Page 22

DEAF CAN! COFFEE INSPIRES 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 are more than their disability. In December 2015, the Digicel Foundation partnered with the group of entrepreneurs by providing J$3,200,000 to upgrade their equipment and install a solar energy system. “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 Digicel Foundation’s relationship with Deaf Can! Coffee they have been invited on several occasions to the Digicel offices to sell their coffee and to share the message of inclusion and respect for all Jamaicans. Their work continues to highlight their skill and potential, taking the focus off what they are unable to do and shedding light on their capacity. The entrepreneurial acumen of the team has seen them not only expanding their facilities but also training their members for job placement in traditional work spaces. The profits of the business are also used to create a scholarship fund for young deaf boys to enter university. Check out their website at www.deafcancoffee.com or visit them at 4 Cassia Park Road, Kingston and order a cup of their delightful coffee!