Egyptian deaf-mute coffee shop shows all signs of success

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Customers at Wadi El-Nile coffee shop, in the Upper Egyptian city of Qena, use sign language to communicate and place orders. (Photo/Supplied)
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Customers at Wadi El-Nile coffee shop, in the Upper Egyptian city of Qena, use sign language to communicate and place orders. (Photo/Supplied)
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Updated 28 February 2020

Egyptian deaf-mute coffee shop shows all signs of success

  • “I had hope and faith in achieving the dream of owning a coffee shop specialized in hosting the deaf and mute and where the staff would be deaf and mute as well.”

CAIRO: An Egyptian cafe for deaf and mute people is quietly showing all the signs of success.

Staff and customers at Wadi El-Nile coffee shop, in the Upper Egyptian city of Qena, use sign language to communicate and place orders.

Printed guides are on every table showing how to sign simple words and phrases to help visitors, whether or not they are deaf-mute.

And activities in the cafe are no different than in any other coffee house, with customers playing backgammon and dominos, enjoying hot and cold drinks, and smoking shisha.

Wadi El-Nile’s owner, Mustafa Khairat, said that the success of his establishment had proved that deaf people could be integrated into society.

“I had hope and faith in achieving the dream of owning a coffee shop specialized in hosting the deaf and mute and where the staff would be deaf and mute as well. They would communicate with customers using sign language, and that is what happened,” he added.

“Deaf people represent a huge segment in Egypt. They used to meet in several coffee shops in Qena governorate but when this one opened with deaf as well as other people attending, it turned into a destination for the deaf from other cities and villages. They meet here and they feel it is their home,” said Khairat.

“We printed papers with sign language as a guide and put them on every table. They have simple sign language signs written in letters to help customers if they are finding it difficult communicating with a waiter or other deaf and mute customers.”

Statistics issued by the UN in 2019, showed the number of deaf and mute people in Egypt to be around 7.5 million out of a population of 100 million, and coffee shops to cater for them have sprung up throughout the country.

In the city of Alexandria, Rady’s cafe in the neighborhood of Mansheya, is better known to Alexandrians as the mute’s coffee shop. The Brotherly Association for the Deaf, which is located in the same area, holds regular meetings there.

And last year, Mohamed Arafat opened his Candy restaurant in Cairo, which employs a number of deaf-mute staff.


Stranded Egyptians return from Sudan, Kuwait and Qatar

Updated 08 July 2020

Stranded Egyptians return from Sudan, Kuwait and Qatar

  • More than 1,000 Egyptians returned from Kuwait, 308 from New York, 174 from Qatar, and 217 from Sudan
  • Sharjah-based airline Air Arabia announced it would be providing Egyptians in Jordan with a flight from Amman to Cairo on July 10

CAIRO: Hundreds of Egyptians who had been stranded overseas because of the COVID-19 pandemic returned to Egypt on Wednesday as the country reopened its airports, which have been closed for three months.

More than 1,000 Egyptians returned from Kuwait, 308 from New York, 174 from Qatar, and 217 from Sudan. The latter came through the Qastal border crossing, which reopened last month after Sudan closed its border in March.

Mustafa Abul-Magd, director general of preventive medicine in Aswan, said that COVID-19 tests were conducted at the quarantine location at the crossing, and that none of the returnees had tested positive.

Meanwhile, Sharjah-based airline Air Arabia announced it would be providing Egyptians in Jordan with a flight from Amman to Cairo on July 10. Egypt’s Minister of Civil Aviation Muhammad Manar Enabah had previously announced that national carrier EgyptAir and Air Cairo would be providing 315 flights to return 57,000 Egyptians stranded abroad. The Egyptian Embassy in Germany has also announced the resumption of flights between the two countries, meaning Egyptian expats there can also return home.

Minister of Immigration and Egyptian Expatriate Affairs Nabila Makram thanked all Arab countries for their support of Egyptian workers abroad during the COVID-19 crisis, and stressed that the whole country has worked to repatriate all Egyptians who wanted to return. “The Egyptian citizen is now prioritized in the country. The state has managed to deal with the anxieties of Egyptians abroad,” Makram said.

Journalist Hassan Al-Rashidi told Arab News that Egypt — with the help of several other countries — has “proven that it never forgets its citizens, even in times of crisis.”
Al-Rashidi added that the suspension of flights had had a major impact on tourism, which plays a huge role in Egypt’s economy. He said the resumption of flights would see many tourism jobs reinstated.