Opened in the western city of Denizli's Pamukkale, "Down Kafe" (Down Café) is becoming a popular place for young people with Down's syndrome, where they can both work and socialize. As part of a social responsibility project carried out by the Denizli Metropolitan Municipality and the Down's Syndrome Foundation, the café in Kınıklı has been praised by locals. Fifteen employees with Down's syndrome work there as either a waiter or a bellboy. The café plans to employ 30 young people each year.
Employees welcome customers with a smiling face and say in Turkish, "Welcome to our café, what would you like to have?" Owner Sibelhan Düdükçü told Anadolu Agency that she is happy by how supportive the local community have been. She said when people come in their café first, they are surprised to see waiters with Down's syndrome, but then they "want to have a chat." She said that the café is often full and people even wait until space clears. Düdükçü said that many people have been misinformed about Down's syndrome, but when they come to her café, their perspective's change. "We choose young people with Down's syndrome who have not been employed before. I believe the café is making progress that contributes to their socialization and social development," Düdükçü continued.
"Our employees with special needs do not prioritize earning money, as we try to give pocket money to them even if they do not work. We try to encourage them to become more extrovert, develop themselves and find their inner talents. When I see them happy, I feel like I have been given the most beautiful present in the world," she said, adding that the Down Kafe not only attracts customers from Denizli, but also Aydın, Uşak and İzmir. Yakup Alasulu, an employee with Down's syndrome at the cafe who lost his mother at an early age, said that he is happy to work there. He said he really likes talking and wants to become a president in the future. Uğur İşlek also said that the Down Kafe has changed his life and he has begun to earn money. Uğur Koca, a customer at the Down Kafe, said that the place is different from other businesses as it helps you gain a perspective on young people with Down's syndrome. Koca frequently goes to the café to see them.
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