• Chris McMillan

Disabled knocking down barriers at new 'bear paw café'


Shine


3rd December 2021


Disabled knocking down barriers at new 'bear paw café'

The first fenceless Hinichijou outlet opens.


Retired Paralympic runner Yun Weiping came from Hefei to Shanghai for the opening ceremony of the first fenceless "bear paw café" on Friday, the 30th International Day of People with Disabilities.

The café, officially called Hinichijou, is popularly known as "bear paw café" because it started as a hole-in-the-wall café, literally, where a furry brown paw emerged from a hole to serve coffee. The wacky service mode was created for disabled employees.


Hidden in the shadows wearing paw-shaped gloves, disabled people felt safe and courageous enough to join the workforce.


One year on, it has grown from a single "bear hole" to a chain of nine outlets, including one in Nanjing and one in Hangzhou. It's also time for disabled employees to move forward.


In the newest Hinichijou outlet in the Crystal Galleria shopping mall in downtown Jing'ansi, they can serve customers face to face


"We built the wall in order to break it down," Hinichijou chief executive officer Chen Dake told Shanghai Daily.


Over 60 percent of the staff have disabilities, such as hearing impairments and facial burns. Many of them are shy and phobic about social contact. The wall protects them from curious glances, but it also prevents them from coming out of their shells.


"It took us a year to build up their confidence. Now, they can take it easy and face society. They don't need the wall any longer," Chen said.


https://www.shine.cn/news/metro/2112039065/

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