AT TAYLOR'S: Dr. Yeoh Ken Kyid (KenKyid.Yeoh@taylors.edu.my)
PROJECT PARTNER: Dr. Allen Teh (drallenteh@dibcoffeesofhawaii.org)

The DiB Coffees of Hawaii kiosk at Taylor’s University Lakeside Campus is a social entrepreneurship initiative set up by Taylor’s Business School (TBS) in collaboration with Deaf-In-Business (DiB) Coffees of Hawaii. DiB  is the first gourmet coffee chain in Malaysia that is run by the hearing impaired. With the support and encouragement from their customers and also the local community, DiB’s vision is to be a major provider of employment opportunities to deaf Malaysians. They also provide an opportunity for potential business ownership to deaf employees who dare to dream. The kiosk has been running at Lakeside campus since October 2014.

Besides making a positive contribution to society, the DiB initiative serves as a platform for Taylor’s Business School students to practice service learning by taking part in all aspects of the coffee kiosk’s operations. Under the guidance of Dr. Yeoh Ken Kyid, the first batch of TBS Accounting and Finance students were chosen to assist in the operations of the kiosk alongside the hearing-impaired DiB workers. Before the commencement of the project, these students attended a basic sign language course to break down communication barriers with the deaf personnel.


Davinaa, one TBS student who was involved from the beginning of this project, recalls having a sign language conversation with one of her colleagues about his life and his involvement with DiB, “We had a long talk one day and he told me that before he started working with DiB he was unhappy to be deaf. He felt angry most of the time and would often get into arguments with his parents. He never had a chance to study as his parents wanted him to work instead. But he was stubborn and wouldn’t listen to his parents. I asked him if he is still unhappy now. He said that working in DiB has made him much happier because he was able to find a job that accepted him with his disabilities. He has enjoyed learning to be a barista.”

For Nur Izzati, another student who took part in this project, expressed her satisfaction and joy to be involved in such a project, “In my personal opinion, I think DiB is really a great project. It has not only helped the deaf but it also has educated the public that being disabled does not mean they cannot lead a quality life. In Malaysia, we do not have enough schools that teach useful living skills to the disabled. DiB has provided an opportunity for the deaf and hearing impaired to learn useful skills such as barista, cooking, baking, and cafe management to improve their lives. They can take these skills to open their own shop in the future. Through this partnership of TBS with DiB, all profits earned by us students are used to provide training for more deaf people”

Overall, this initiative aims to foster a sense of social responsibility and also spirit of community service among different batches of TBS students over the long-term. The initiative effectively empowers the disabled community (especially the deaf) and brings lasting positive impact to society. In this regard, all profits generated from the kiosk will be utilized to train more people with disabilities and open more branches or kiosks at other attractive locations around the country.

For further information, kindly email the project director, Dr. Yeoh Ken Kyid at kenkyid.yeoh@taylors.edu.my.

Written by Gabriella Qin s.theng94@gmail.com