This warms our little hearts!
Brownies & DownieS is a coffee-shop and training centre for people with intellectual disabilities. It first began 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.
Brownies & DownieS serves only the best brew by non other than 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.
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.
For those wanting to support this inspiring business and training centre (aside from becoming a regular, that is), there are a number of ways to do so.
More info: browniesdownies.co.za.