Meet Ben, an employee at Café Shalva, who continues to impress his managers, as well as the café visitors, with the new skills he learns each day at this Jerusalem eatery. This is just one of many cafés in Israel that strive to provide great food to the community while employing those from disadvantaged populations – showing that inclusion is an asset.
“When Ben started working here two years ago, he wore sunglasses and was very shy. He didn’t want to talk to anyone. We worked really hard with him to communicate along with teaching him how to make coffee and juice,” says Zwebner [Ben’s supervisor]. “He’s now asking clients what kind of coffee and pastry they want. He’s taking initiative. He’s really made unbelievable progress.”
Social eateries across Israel aim to please palates while employing, training and rehabilitating people from disadvantaged populations such as teenage dropouts and disabled adults…
“Everything about it promotes inclusion. It starts with the accessible playground outside where kids with and without disabilities play together, and our inclusive kindergarten and daycare, sports and music programs[,”says Avi Samuels, chairman of Shalva].