Society is a complex system that only moves forward when all of its members are treated equally. All productive individuals in society are imperative and absolutely necessary for progress and continuity.
People with special needs have a great potential for serving their community and should be more present in the workplace.
People with special needs, are also people with special abilities.
The stigma around these individuals has always been present especially in countries like Lebanon, where a lot of people are uneducated about such matters.
A couple of months ago, Dr. Wassim Hage, a physiotherapist, had an amazing idea of opening a coffee shop where all workers are special needs individuals.
The idea came after noticing in his work how these people are able to accommodate and become more independent and autonomous.
The staff consists of 8 individuals with down syndrome, angelman syndrome, and other intellectual limitations.
The place serves all kinds of coffee, shakes, smoothies, juice, desserts, sandwiches, and salads!
Workers are paid, of course, based on how many hours they are spending at the shop.
In case you were wondering about the place's name, Dr. Hage has picked it since it's a medical term that means "a substance, molecule, or muscle that is able to cause or stimulate an action or activity".
Agonist Coffee Shop is located in Zalqa, only a couple minutes from Beirut Center. It is open from 7 AM till 12 AM.
Agonist Coffee Shop is a success. People from all over Lebanon are visiting the place, making new friends, taking pictures, and having fun.
It is one of the greatest measures to enhance public awareness of different-ability individuals.
Last year, a law came into effect in Lebanon to enforce people with special needs. The law states that small companies, typically the ones with 30-6 employees, must hire at least one qualified person with special needs. Larger companies "must have at least three percent of their workforce with special needs."