Connecting people to purpose.

TOWNHALL is a city guide for discovering businesses that give back, places to volunteer, and good things going on around you.

Hand Me A Coffee

Project Name: Hand Me A Coffee

Tagline: Bridging the gap between the Deaf and Hearing communities through unique cafe experiences where customers can order their coffee in Sign Language.

Location: Sydney, Australia

Contact: Jessica Lang – Founder

What is Hand Me A Coffee all about?

Hand Me a Coffee aims to bridge the gap between the Deaf and Hearing communities through unique cafe experiences where customers can order their coffee in Sign Language.

How long have you been operating?

Since late 2017

Where did the idea start?

This project started 2 years ago where I saw a similar model overseas in Canada and got inspired by various initiatives to make the workplace a more inclusive place from employing people with dementia, with deafness, with autism. I entered a competition at my University called Nescafe Headstart which gave you a platform to pitch for $15K for the winning idea. I just randomly put down the idea for a cafe in Sydney to staff Deaf baristas. I was not expecting anything but it got selected in the Top 10. I was so surprised! While I did not actually work receive the prize, it stuck with me and gave me a boost showing there is interest and demand for such a concept. So I finally got off my bum and decided to give it a go!

How do TOWNHALL Citizens or visitors get involved? Are you open to collaboration – if so, what kind?

We are always looking for volunteers who can help us drive this project forward through more avenues, events and collaboration. To learn more about Auslan and about the Deaf community, you can keep updated on our Facebook page ‘Hand Me a Coffee’

Do you have any success stories?

We have launched a pilot event at Parliament on King where we influenced the café owner to learn Auslan himself and he thanked me for approaching him for showcasing such diversity and the beauty of Auslan itself.

Do you have a project on TOWNHALL or an important event or mission coming up?

Hand Me a Coffee is launching a new event this month! We have a High Tea Auslan Experience where this is a voice off experience where people with no prior experience or basic Auslan understanding are invited to join this workshop-style experience with a social gathering to follow. Bonus High Tea will be served! You might be able to learn how to order your coffee in Auslan. For more information check out: https://www.facebook.com/events/504831596586133/

What’s the overall vision for Hand Me A Coffee?

To see the Deaf community empowered and engaged with the rest of the community whether it be in the café or hospitality industry but in every facet of their life. This goes to the broader vision I have to make a difference including bringing communities together to make a more inclusive and diverse society.

What’s your ‘why’?

I was born profoundly Deaf and grew up with 2 cochlear implants. I grew up with spoken English and Cantonese and only encountered Auslan later in life. I know first hand what it is like struggle to communicate and hear over the background noise. Auslan provided a beautiful medium to communicate without these barriers. I’m still learning myself! But I know that we need change. I want to inspire change in community attitudes towards hearing loss and empower business owners to understand it doesn’t take a lot to make their cafes and restaurants more accessible for people with disability.

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