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Five extraordinary baristas run this Abu Dhabi cafe

Ismail Sebugwaawo /Abu Dhabi
ismail@khaleejtimes.com Filed on September 18, 2021
— Photos by Ryan Lim / Graphics by Samlal

Welcome to the Bee Cafe — the first cafe in the UAE that is operated entirely by people of determination.

Five extraordinary baristas run this Abu Dhabi cafe (https://www.khaleejtimes.com/assets/gif/KT30177914.GIF)

They have made headlines a couple of weeks ago as they opened their first external branch at the Department of Health — Abu Dhabi (DoH), allowing them to reach a wider community. It was a big move from their original location at the headquarters of the Zayed Higher Organisation (ZHO) for People of Determination in Mafraq City.

Now, they get to make and serve specialty coffee and pastries to more customers from all walks of life. Five people of determination work together and do everything on their own — from taking and punching orders to brewing coffee, preparing a serving of bread, and collecting payments.

Emirati barista Hazzaa Al Muhairabi, who has an intellectual disability, leads the team.

“I am so happy with my work because I get to meet and socialise with various people every day,” added Al Muhairabi.

Making coffee was his passion, he said. “I looked for videos on YouTube and learnt how to make the different types of coffee before I completed my training at the ZHO. I have enough knowledge about coffee-making and serving customers.”

Being a barista and team leader at the Bee Cafe is his first job ever. “I feel empowered and independent. I get a salary and I am no longer relying on my family for financial support.”

ALSO READ: Inside a village of ‘real life’ for children of determination

The menu at the DoH café includes Spanish latte — which is a bestseller — cappuccino, cortado, expresso, flat whites, croissants and juices.

And Yusuf Al Mansoori and Mabkhout Al Amri prepare them with love every single time.

Five extraordinary baristas run this Abu Dhabi cafe (https://www.khaleejtimes.com/assets/jpg/KT30179914.JPG)

Their place is open from 8am to 5pm on weekdays and welcomes both DoH staff and visitors.

Al Amri, a trainee at the Bee Café’s main branch in Mafraq, added that getting hired made him feel “like a man”.

"Having a job is a good thing, I now feel like a real man because I am earning, and I can sustain myself.”

The Bee Café initiative shows that with the right training and support, people of determination can overcome their disabilities and live a full life independently.

Amal Alhammadi, public relations specialist at the ZHO for People of Determination, said: “These Emiratis — with various disability classifications including autism, intellectual and multi disabilities — were enrolled in the training programme.

“During the training, they learnt the preparation of coffee and other drinks and food, the art of hospitality and food service, as well as the basics of hygiene, sterilisation and first aid.”

One barista has also been employed to supervise the employees of determination and ensure that the products meet the highest standards, according to officials.

“The families of these Emiratis working at the Bee Café are very happy because their children can go out and work every day just like others,” Alhammadi said.

Providing employment to people of determination undoubtedly allows them to unleash their creativity and skills while helping them integrate with society, Alhammadi said.

“The families of these Emiratis working at the Bee Café are very happy because their children can go out and work every day just like others.”

One barista has also been employed to supervise the employees of determination and ensure that the products meet the highest standards, according to officials.

ismail@khaleejtimes.com

author

Ismail Sebugwaawo

A professional journalist originating from Kampala, Uganda, Ismail is a happy father with strong attachment to family and great values for humanity. He has practiced journalism in UAE for the past 13 years, covering the country's parliament (FNC) and crimes, including Abu Dhabi Police, public prosecution and courts. He also reports about important issues in education, public health and the environment, with a keen interest in human interest stories. When out of reporting duties, he serves the Ugandan community in Abu Dhabi as he wants to see his countrymen happy. Exercising and reading are part of his free time.





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