Lower Hutt cafe serving coffee made entirely by people with disabilities

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1 NEWS

It's hoped a new line of coffee produced by people with disabilities will challenge attitudes around the disabled in the workplace. 

The international project, which goes from Mexico to New Zealand, has been developed by a group of entrepreneurial Kiwis.
Source: 1 NEWS

The international project, which spans from Mexico to New Zealand, has been developed by a group of entrepreneurial Kiwis.

Co-founder of the Lucy Foundation Robbie Francis said her experience, and stories from other people, have spurred the group to fight for inclusion. 

"Every where I travel in the world I keep hearing the same narrative again and again and again... it's like, 'I want to be part of my community, I'm ready to be part of my community, I want to contribute, but society won't give me a chance'."

The foundation has been working with people with disabilities in Mexico where green coffee beans are grown, harvested, packed and exported. 

The beans are then sent to New Zealand, where they are sold, roasted, delivered and brewed by people with disabilities. 

"As far as we know, this is the first value chain of a product that is totally inclusive from the time it's created to the time it's consumed. I don't know anywhere in the world that's doing that," Ms Francis said. 

"What we're trying to say is actually no, we are proud of who we are as the disability community."

"We bring so much to the table."

Claire Matheson, who will sell the Mexican beans, has mental health issues. She runs Lower Hutt's Co-ed cafe where three quarters of the workers have disabilities.

"Often employers are not necessarily set up to be able to take people who have differing ways of working into their businesses or when they do they're not given the support that they need to be able to work totally effectively."

Ms Francis hopes her coffee project will fuel debate and change attitudes. 


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