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China: Around The Nation

Silent bubble tea shops offer work and hope to deaf Chinese

Outlet’s hiring policies offer rare chance of independence for disabled people

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 05 October, 2017, 11:42am
UPDATED : Thursday, 05 October, 2017, 4:31pm

Business is booming at one of the quietest bubble tea shops in China.

The tiny Silent Beverage shop in Guiyang in the southern province of Guizhou has attracted curious customers because of its policy of only hiring deaf employees.

People with disabilities often struggle to find jobs in China but the tea shop provides a safe environment for students who graduated from a local special needs high school to improve their communication skills.

Except for one cashier who does not have any hearing or language barriers, other staff communicate via sign language.

Visual aids and menus are prominent on the shop’s walls and counters for customers to point to.

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Staff members start working there as interns, which offers them real-life training that is not easy to get elsewhere, before being taken on as employees.

The outlet has 16 permanent employees who each underwent a month-and-a-half of training before starting work full-time.

The chain is branching out this month with two more branches being opened in the city, according to China News Service.

One 20-year-old employee Huang Yun said in sign language that he had learned how to make many drinks and the job helped him to be independent so that his parents did not need to worry about him, CNS reported.

“I heard about [Silent Beverage] from social media. The tea tastes good and the price is fair,” a customer who came from Shenzhen said.