South Africa – Do you know Brownies and Downies in Cape Town?

To read on Good Things Guy website:

Special needs & social change… Cape Town eatery is first of its kind in South Africa!

Brownies and Downies

A coffee shop named Brownies and Downies has just moved into Cape Town & is providing a unique service.

It wants to provide training, along with a sense of independence, to youngsters with special needs.

Brownies & Downies was first begun in 2010 in Veghel, the Netherlands, when two friends, chef Teun Horck and special-needs school teacher, Thijs Swinkels, wanted to create job opportunities in hospitality for people with disabilities.

The pair then successfully launched Brownies & DownieS, a non-profit coffee-shop concept with a focus on quality food, awareness, and offering training experience and employment for the intellectually challenged.

The company has since opened almost 30 stores in the Netherlands and, on 8 February 2016, a branch in South Africa’s Mother City.

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Brownies & Downies Cape Town offers a happy and bright space for guests to enjoy cafe-style eats and delicious brews by Truth Coffee. The dishes on the menu are prepared, cooked and served by the enthusiastic staff as a training programme for them to learn the ins and outs of the hospitality business, with a view to open up future opportunities for them in service, food preparation and management.

The owner and founder of the new branch, Wendy Vermeulen, made her way from the Netherlands to complete a social work internship in South Africa during 2010, and decided to stay in the city after completing her degree.

Like the two original founders, Wendy realised that there was a lack of facilities for people with intellectual disabilities in South Africa, with these youths often completing school at the age of 18 and struggling to find employment thereafter.

Wendy became increasingly aware of the fear and stigma around interacting with people with intellectual disabilities and searched for a solution, and so Brownies & DownieS Cape Town was born.

“Our mandate is to improve the quality of life for the intellectually challenged, and to evolve the South African societal views and acceptance of these individuals into society. We want to create welcoming atmosphere of love and acceptance in every outlet, and provide exceptional quality of food and dining experiences to our customers.”

From the looks of things, Brownies & Downies Cape Town is well on the way to achieving its aims, and that the staff are happy and proud to work there. Manager Wade Schultz and Wendy are hands-on with running the restaurant alongside the team, assisting with training and encouragement.

The name might seem controversial but its more than just a talking point…

“The name is actually created by parents of people with Down syndrome, the whole reason why they did that, is because no one cares about people with Down syndrome so they needed to create the awareness.”

“It might be controversial, but its a name you will never forget.”

The Brownies & Downies menu offers a range of breakfasts, sandwiches, light lunches, burgers and pastries. Office workers in the area are also welcome to place orders for takeaway lunches.

Bruce Muller posted a photo on Facebook of his cousin who had found work for the first time which is quickly gaining traction & raising even more awareness for the amazing restaurant.

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“So proud of my cousin and his first job! Please support this fantastic initiative if you’re in the Long Street area – it is a restaurant and coffee shop that provides workplace training and employment for young adults with down syndrome and other learning disablitilies.”

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