Winning Cape Town restaurant serves up more than a good brownie

Brownies & Downies has won the 2017 SAB Foundation’s Disability Empowerment award

28 October 2017 - 00:00 By Olivia Decelles
Brownies & Downies is a training centre for people with intellectual disabilities and provides them with the necessary skills to have successful careers.
Brownies & Downies is a training centre for people with intellectual disabilities and provides them with the necessary skills to have successful careers.
Image: Facebook/Brownies&DownieS

The award is almost sweeter than the brownies they serve. Cape Town cafe Brownies & Downies is the winner of the SAB Foundation’s Disability Empowerment award for 2017.

“We are very excited. The day after we won the award it was hard to stay focused‚” said manager Wade Schultz. “All the trainees and everyone were dancing and cheering in the store.”

The restaurant was crowned this month and with it came R1-million for having come up with a way to improve the employment of disabled people.

The first of its kind in South Africa‚ Brownies & Downies is a training centre for people with intellectual disabilities and provides them with the necessary skills to have successful careers. Since opening in 2016‚ the organisation has been able to place seven young adults in jobs outside of the cafe.

Winning the award came as a surprise to the founder and head social worker Wendy Vermeulen.

“Wade and I thought we would get maybe third or second‚ but we definitely did not think we would win first‚” said Vermeulen.

Schultz and Vermeulen are enthusiastic about the possibility to open a second branch in town or in the northern suburbs.

“Because of this award we can continue our dream and help more and more people get a job‚” said Vermeulen. “Hopefully we will be able to go national someday.”


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