Youths with Down syndrome working at Mexican coffee shop

The first coffee shop staffed by people with Down syndrome in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, continues thriving as it nears its second year of operation.

Named Coffee Cordica 21, the shop opened in late 2017 as a space hoping to erase the idea that people with Down syndrome cannot live normal lives. The shop belongs to the organization of the same name, which also has an arts school and a soccer league. Young adults with Down syndrome work there as servers, cooks and baristas.

“The goal of our coffee shop is to enhance their self-esteem, to improve their independence at home, which is where we want to see the results – and also to show society all they can do and that, just like anybody else, they have a lot to offer to the world,” Laura Ruiz Borrayo, Cordica 21 director, told the Spanish news agency EFE when the shop opened.

An organization with 10 years of experience, Cordica 21 helps children with Down syndrome and brain injuries become a part of everyday society and demonstrate they can put their abilities to the service of society. Now, with the coffee shop, the organization can continue helping the kids as they become adults.

The organization’s name comes from putting together the first letters in Spanish of the following values: Constancy, Respect, Discipline and Affection. The number 21 comes from the main cause of Down syndrome: an extra chromosome in par 21.