Syria has opened the country’s first café staffed by people with Down syndrome, located in Tishreen Park in the capital Damascus.
The café, Sucette, is run by 20 people with Down syndrome, according to the Xinhua news agency, and is the result of an initiative by the local charity Juzour Association which operates several humanitarian projects.
Kholoud Rajab, the board chairperson of the association, told Xinhua that the project is aiming at breaking the stereotype about people with Down syndrome while also encouraging them to interact with other members of society.
Currently 20 people with Down syndrome and ten others are working at the cafe, Rajab said.
This Syrian cafe hires people with Down’s syndrome to empower young people with the genetic disorder pic.twitter.com/jidmk4lJ9i
— Reuters (@Reuters) August 25, 2021
“Sucette is more than a cafe. It is an idea that will integrate the special group in the society and allow them to accept us as well,” she said.
One of the waiters, 20-year-old Muhannad Saleh was quoted by the agency as saying: “I am happy to work here and everything is perfect. I serve customers with everything I can.”
In 2019 Juzour Association launched the then temporary coffee shop during a month-long festival at Tishreen Park. At the time, Saleh Al-Ismael, the executive director of the association, stated: “We are working on the long run on a distant plan, which aims to update a cafe work within a festival to a permanent cafe in Damascus as a first step so that we can generalise this idea in other Syrian cities.”