Youth Startup in Albania: First Cafe for Social interaction of Youngsters with Disabilities

A new place to have coffee emerged in the capital of Albania Tirana. The E Jona café is located in the posh Blloku neighborhood of Tirana – the home of hundreds of cafes, bars and nightclubs.

So what is so special about this coffee shop then? Well, for one thing you can order your coffee in sign language only.

The café has two goal – to promote social interaction and networking among youngsters and to raise awareness about the needs and challenges facing disabled people. It will work as a small training centre for young people with disabilities so it can break the prejudice that they are not employable.

According to one of the founders of the coffee shop, as a social business, the profits will be reinvested to expand the staff or open a new location. The 2011 census recorded 137 435 people having some sort of disability in Albania.

Among the biggest challenges for young people with disabilities are employment and education, as well as access to a social life, a recent study of the Organization for Security and Co-operation, OSCE, in Europe showed.

Four young friends came with the idea of creating a venue that did not lack access for disabled people and then contacted the Yunus Social Business incubator for funding. YSB is a company that helps start-ups and provides advice.

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