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Civic Participation

İZEV - Down Cafe

The first Changemaker of our 3rd season is the İstanbul Foundation for People with Mental Disabilities (İZEV), which provides employment opportunities to youth with Down syndrome.

On November 4, 2011, Turkey’s Changemakers featured the İstanbul Foundation for People with Mental Disabilities (İZEV), which established the Down Café in order to provide employment opportunities to youth with Down syndrome.

“You all are very sweet and lovely. I have never witnessed such respect and kindness from servers in any other place. I am very glad to have met you.” These words are written by a customer on a café’s guest book, which is filled with similar comments by customers. This is because all of the café’s servers are hardworking youth with Down syndrome.

The İstanbul Foundation for People with Mental Disabilities (İZEV) was established 18 years ago by a group of families of children with mental disabilities. It began operations in a shack built on a schoolyard in Mecidiyeköy, İstanbul. İZEV, supported by the Ministry of National Education, built a four-storey school, a sports hall, and a kitchen over the years. Their latest project is Down Café, where youth with Down syndrome who holds a certificate in hotel management are provided with employment opportunities. İZEV hires young people with Down syndrome to work at Down Café and makes a significant difference in their lives by helping them build a better future.

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