Deaf Cafe Fingertalk

“When I told people I wanted to open a deaf café, the initial response I got was, ‘You wanna make what café? Deaf café? What is that?’ I told them it’s a café where all the waiters and waitresses, plus the baristas, are deaf. Someone asked, ‘How are we supposed to order then?’ I said, ‘You’d have to use sign language. But don’t worry, there’s a cheat sheet on the table.’ I guess I wanted to give people with disabilities, especially deaf people in Indonesia, an opportunity to work, since they still face some discrimination. Many of us think they don’t have the skills to do anything, let alone work. I got inspired by a similar concept in Nicaragua while I was doing volunteer work there in 2013. But I didn’t have the resources to launch my own café, so first, I found a job in Singapore (through my sempai in the Japanese university I was attending at the time) and then got in touch with the deaf community in Indonesia while saving up capital and learning sign language. Through some twist of fate, I met one of the leaders of the deaf community, who kindly offered to let me use her house for the café. That’s how I opened Fingertalk in 2015. We named it Fingertalk because deaf people communicate using their fingers.”

Dissa hails from Indonesia and is the founder of Fingertalk. She recently won an SDG action award in Japan (SDG stands for sustainable development goals) for her work helping deaf people find equal work opportunity in Indonesia.



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Finding diversity and inclusion. Breaking down barriers one post at a time. Stories and snapshots of foreigners making their way in Japan.

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