At Zagreb's new Silent Caffe, half of the staff are deaf. A first for Croatia, the cafe serves your usual coffee and drinks menu but places an emphasis on who it employs to serve its customers. The brainchild of company Znak tišine (Sign of Silence) the café hopes to better employment prospects for deaf people: one of their former staff has already moved on to a new role at a tourist agency.
The cafe located on Mislava street has tablets for its customers to place their orders through to makes transactions smoother. The café helps customers pick up sign language, with a mounted wide-screen TV featuring footage of people speaking in sign language with subtitles below.
Shifts are shared between a deaf member of staff and a hearing one to cover all eventualities. Supported by the City of Zagreb with the aim of fostering social entrepreneurship, the idea will likely catch on in other cities. The company have identified that deaf people are not often encouraged into roles such as these; the cafe hopes to tackle this and open up the prospects for deaf people looking for work.
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