'I’m not ashamed of being deaf'
In 2015, Javannie Dawes was among the deaf students who were taught the history of coffee and the art of coffee making in barista training.
"I love making a latte and being able to make a nice design in it," says Dawes, the young barista.
He is more than grateful for the opportunities afforded him through Deaf Can Coffee, a not-for-profit venture that seeks to empower deaf youth. Dawes 20, is a student at the Caribbean Christian Centre for the Deaf and has been involved with the cafE since inception.
"Before Deaf Can Coffee, we didn't know what we were gonna do, and in our home communities, we often felt very isolated," Dawes said.
With Deaf Can Coffee charting the way, Dawes says he is now seeing more ways in which the deaf can be integrated in society. He said that a newspaper article about Deaf Can Coffee, which appeared in the Outlook magazine in 2015, caused people to change their perspective of him.
"People in my community started seeing me as someone who could," he said.
The 20-year-old, who was born deaf, expressed his gratitude to managers Carlyle Gabbidon and Fabian Jackson, who have inspired and made him more confident.
"I have a deaf identity and I'm not ashamed of being deaf," said Dawes, who dislikes when people pity him.
He enjoys serving people within and outside of the deaf community. About interacting with the latter, Dawes said: "It's tough sometimes, but over time we got more confident ... before, we were very concerned about how to interact with hearing people, but realised that we are just as equal."
- Judana Murphy