Deaf Can! Coffee: empowered youths brewing a thriving business

My name is Javannie Dawes, and my dream is to stay engaged in Deaf Can! Coffee and be equipped with more skills so that I can continue to go out and prove to the world that I am empowered and that the deaf can do anything!

Last year when we started Deaf Can! Coffee we were clueless about what we were doing, but we felt convinced that we needed to think positively and go ahead and try. We looked around and realised that no one was going to do it for us, so we had to put our hopes into action and give it our best try.

As our social enterprise developed, our own energy grew with it. Our desire to learn and succeed increased, and we kept growing.

But one of the keys that was holding in the forefront of our minds was our mission that started it all, the belief that although it might be challenging for us to communicate with hearing people and for them to understand us, it excites us to have a hearing customer come in because it is possible to show them that the deaf can do anything.

Through that mentality we are building up positive self-esteem and self-worth in ourselves. Whether that’s through coffee, making a fruit smoothie, a milkshake, or something else, when we give it to the customer and they like it and say thank you, the proof is in the taste and that motivates us to keep going.

We realise this is critical – an attitude that says I will press on and never give up. At our core is the Bible verse from Philippians 4:13 – “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” We have gifts and talents that God has given us, and we will use them. Isn’t that amazing?

About Deaf Can

Deaf Can! Coffee started as a small coffee roasting project at Caribbean Christian Centre for the Deaf in Kingston in 2015. It now operates a full-fledge café and training centre at the school campus at 4 Cassia Park Road (please email to schedule your visit); and a mobile coffee and catering service for events. They have also developed and sell their own coffee-based drinks.

Pioneering Deaf Can! baristas Carlyle Gabbidon and Fabian Jackson recently opened up their first public location at 2 Phoenix Avenue, in partnership with Cafe Nita, located inside the new Phoenix Central Building. Opening hours are 7am to 5pm Monday to Friday.

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