Café Joyeux, bringing a smile to the coffee shop


Cafe Joyeux is the first coffee shop run by employees with disabilities to have opened its doors in Paris. Photo: AFP Relaxnews

Antoine, Mathilde, Julia and Aymeric work at Café Joyeux in Paris. And like 80% of the employees of this establishment, they have a mental or cognitive disability such as Down's syndrome or autism.

But this hasn't stopped them from having a long-term contract and working between 12 and 35 hours a week.

The first coffee shop run by employees with disabilities has opened its doors in Paris. A café with a social conscience that is always full, it is sustained by its staff, their joy and their ability to embrace what makes every one of us unique.

A complex situation for less able-bodied young citizens

The unemployment rate among people with disabilities is tragically high. When they do go to work, for the most part this involves specialist structures far from the public gaze. It's a very different picture at the Café Joyeux, which values direct contact with its clientele and wants to change the way society looks at disability by giving jobs to those we refuse to see.

Taking the plunge

Yann Bucaille Lanrezac is an entrepreneur who heads up the Voile Solidaire association, which gets those who are suffering out on the water in Brittany aboard his yacht Ephata, be they sick children, the elderly or those with disabilities. It is during one of these trips out to sea that a young person with autism set himself the challenge of finding a job, an experience that inspired the Café Joyeux franchise.

A café that's always full

There are a great many customers that come along to enjoy the fresh produce, organic vegetables, soups, savory tarts and salads prepared by the staff under the supervision of their managers. Everything is set up to ensure the environment is tailor-made for the employee.

Supported on a case-by-case basis with contracts spanning 12 to 35 hours depending on the profile, the various positions are matched with their capabilities. And though Joyeux is an inclusive business, it's also a commercial operation to ensure that the project can continue. - AFP Relaxnews

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