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  • Chris McMillan

'Silent' coffee shop lights up life of hearing-impaired youth

China Daily

21st August 2023

'Silent' coffee shop lights up life of hearing-impaired youth

Beijing cafe teaches hearing-impaired youth skills, and delights palates at the same time

Customers entering Beijing's Rainbow Angel Cafe can't miss the colorful, hand-painted signs at the entrance: "Our pastry chefs are hearing-impaired. Please communicate with patience."

Speech-to-text software has been installed on a tablet at the front desk to aid communication. When a customer places an order, the hearing-impaired servers use the tablet to read their request. Should they wish, customers can even consult a small booklet on basic sign language, and learn to extend a thumb and bend it twice to express their gratitude.

This "silent" cafe in Changping district is run by five hearing-impaired bakers from different parts of the country. Customers leisurely sip cups of coffee in quiet corners, or sample some of the dozens of Taiwan-style snacks available.

Founded by Lee Shao-hwa, who comes from Kaohsiung in Taiwan, the cafe trains young people with hearing impairments to make Taiwan-style snacks for free to teach them skills that could help them acquire a stable job.

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