Deafined restaurant creates meaningful employment for Deaf and Hard of Hearing
It’s an exciting time for six students from VCC’s Deaf and Hard of Hearing – Job Readiness program. On May 7, they officially started new jobs as servers at Deafined, a new deaf-dining themed Mediterranean restaurant in Kitsilano where the majority of communication will happen in American Sign Language (ASL).
Deafined owner Moe Alameddine, already known for founding blind-dining themed restaurants in Vancouver, Montreal and Toronto, is now looking to break down employment barriers for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.
According to a 1998 Canadian Association for the Deaf survey, 20.6% of Deaf Canadians are fully employed; 41.9% are under-employed; and 37.5% are unemployed. “As a Deaf person, I have found it challenging to look for a job," says VCC Job Readiness program student Mikaela Sarimento by email. “There is a lot of discrimination out there.”
Through the Job Readiness program, however, Mikaela has already held three jobs in Vancouver since coming to Canada from the Philippines in 2009. When her most recent job ended due to business closure, she found her next opportunity at Deafined.