WATCH: A coffee shop with a difference

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Liziwe Ndalana, Fin24

Cape Town -  In South Africa deaf youth struggle with education, and getting a matric qualification is quite an achievement, says Gary Hopkins.

Finding employment after leaving school is even more difficult.

And so the concept of I Love Coffee was born. 

Hopkins's company hires deaf baristas and trains them to run a shop, which they may later own. Some baristas get trained as chefs.

Hopkins, who has a background in marketing, says he wanted to start a business which would have a real social impact.

"I came to understand the challenges facing the deaf community and that really strike a chord with me, mainly because their language is not recognised as an official language," he says. 

ALSO READ: It took a year for customers to smell the coffee

A majority of deaf youth in SA do not make it to university and this means that chances of getting formal employment are slim.

"The deaf community is by and large, locked out of the economy," he says.

When Hopkins started thinking of simple ways to break communication barriers which exist between deaf community and the rest of the society, a beloved hot drink came to mind.

"Well, I thought coffee, we all love coffee," he says.

The company uses compostable, biodegradable coffee pods, which are safer for the environment. 

According to Hopkins, ten billion coffee pods get produced every year around the world. SA alone makes ten million. "Those plastic or aluminium pods go to the landfills, the sea or our rivers and it’s a terrible pollution," says Hopkins.   

WATCH as Hopkins shares the journey: 

ALSO READ: Yoco and that beaten-down eatery in the US

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