I Am Equal and Able

A Barista in general should be able to have good communication skills with customers, but what if the Barista and the customer have different ways of communicating? This is what was experienced by Wahyu Ahmad Dullah who is usually called Fai, a 23-year-old man born in Boyolali. He lost half his hearing in the right ear, and was completely deaf in the left ear. As a Deaf person, Fai communicates by sign language and reads lips.

Starting with his participation in the Barista training held by Sunyi Academy, Fai's confidence increased. The training was a part of the Employment and Livelihood joint project, jointly organized by four United Nations (UN) agencies in Indonesia, including the ILO. The joint project was funded by UN COVID-19 Response and Recovery Multi-Partner Trust Fund (UN MPTF).

Seeing his discipline during his training, and his high potential to become a professional barista, Sunyi has recruited Fai to become a Deaf barista at the Jogjakarta branch of Sunyi Coffee.

Fai's journey to become a Deaf barista at Sunyi Coffee goes through many challenges and obstacles, one of which is when dealing directly with customers. Even though Fai has been practicing to interact directly with customers while doing his apprenticeship at Barista training, Fai still feels awkward and afraid when he starts his career as a Barista. However, this did not dampened his enthusiasm for work, Fai wanted to show that being a Deaf person doesn't mean someone can't communicate. He wants to introduce sign language to customers who come.

In the midst of this COVID-19 pandemic, Fai, who is also a dancer, is again faced with challenges in communicating. As everyone is required to wear a mask, it is difficult for him to be able to read other people's lips. Fai and other Deaf baristas get around this problem by inviting customers who come to sign, write, or point to a picture of the menu to communicate with them. "In fact, this is our moment to be able to invite people not to be afraid to communicate using hand gestures, body languages, and writing," said Fai.

In addition to being a dancer who is active in preserving Javanese traditional dances, now Fai is also a Deaf Barista who actively disseminates sign language and Deaf culture to many people. He wanted to prove people with disabilities are equal to those who are not living with a disability, “Deaf people can work, create, just like others. What Deaf people can't do is just to hear,” said Fai, ending the story.