New Restaurant Dedicated to Employing Deaf Waiters & Waitresses

 

If you walk into Toronto’s new restaurant, Signs, you’ll think it’s just like any other restaurant in town. But you’ll change your mind soon enough once you’re asked to use American Sign Language (ASL) and sign your order to your deaf waiter or waitress. Yup, you read that correctly. In an effort to help increase job opportunities for the deaf community and provide a learning experience for customers, Signs encourages non-deaf customers to adapt to a deaf environment.

Just yesterday, we came across a Chinese student who was denied entry into college because her disability prevented her from passing a physical exam. Unfortunately, this is just one of the few obstacles that a handicapped individual may face. Recognizing this, Indian Canadian restaurant owner Anjan Manikumar has decided to take action and provide opportunities that may otherwise be unavailable for handicapped communities such as the deaf community.

The restaurant,which opened just last month on July 31, emphasizes its fun and novel methods to order.Not fluent in sign language? Well, don’t worry. The restaurant offers a “cheat book” which contains popular phrases used in restaurants as well as instructions on how to sign menu options. Of course, you can always just point to what you want, but where’s the fun in that?

 

 

Anjan Manikumar got the idea while working as a manager at a Boston Pizza in Markham. He served a deaf customer who could only point to what he wanted on the menu.

“I felt he wasn’t getting the service he deserved,” Manikumar told The National. He wasn’t getting the personal touch.”

He decided to learn American Sign Language, much to the delight of his deaf customer who quickly became “a regular.” Manikumar was inspired by the experience and wanted a restaurant that not only encourages non-deaf customers to learn sign language, but also provides job opportunities to the deaf community in a workforce they wouldn’t otherwise be able to work in.

“Providing them an opportunity here is something that they deserve,” said Manikumar. “And they’re very talented, every one of them.”

The most recent data on deaf unemployment in Canada points out 37.5% of deaf Canadians are unemployed and the high number is mainly due to “insensitive work environments.”

Luckily, Signs has already hired 50 deaf employees less than a month after its grand opening.

Mehdi Safavi is one of the waiters at Signs who admits this job is his first full-time job. “It’s wonderful. I’m so excited to be here,” he told The National. “It’s a deaf environment where hearing people can come in and experience our world and our culture. It’s amazing.”

 

 

Chinese Student Rejected From College Because of Disability, Reminds Us Not To Take Education For Granted

 

As any high school senior would know, applying to college can be in itself a stressful situation. Just thinking about the application process, financial aid and, of course, waiting around for the letter that will ultimately determine your future, is enough to cause a whirlwind of unnerving emotions.

In the grand scheme of things however, it’s easy to forget that most of us are lucky to even have the option of going to college at all. Especially when we live in a world where girls in other countries, like activist Malala Yousafazi, are banned from going to school under the Taliban rule because of their gender.

 

 

Fujian student Liu Wanling, a bright girl who regularly achieved high grades in her classes, unfortunately faced a huge obstacle when she applied to Jiang Xia College. Though she had scored 549 on her gaokao (the national college and university entrance exam), she was denied admission due to failing a physical test, because she is handicapped. For those of you unfamiliar with the gaokao test, it is the ultimate test that determines a student’s placement into university. Unlike the SAT, the gaokao can only be taken once a year, which means it is the only shot that most Chinese students have at attending their dream schools.

 

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According to Shanghaiist, Liu received a phone call by the university, who asked her if she would be willing to change to a less popular major. Liu agreed, but after a meeting was held by the school, as well as a discussion with doctors, they came to the consensus that she would not be able to attend the university. Disheartened by the news, Liu told reporters, “I’ve already prepared myself for the worst, but even if I try again next year, will I still be denied admission?”

Liu’s story was later posted by a user on Weibo, and immediately attracted the attention of many Chinese users. As of today, there are over 600 comments from angry netizens on the trending topic, defending Liu and even calling China “an abyss that kills people’s hope.”