Brownies & Downies is under threat of closing its doors due to one of their co-owners being banned from SA after a paperwork mistake but people are rallying to support them!!!
Cape Town, South Africa – The Brownies & Downies cafe on the corner of Long Street and Prestwich Street has been a pillar of support within the Down Syndrome and mental disability communities of Cape Town.
The cafe has been training teens and young adults with Down Syndrome and other disabilities in hospitality skills to broaden their future employment prospects. The cafe staff are trained in front of house, administration and kitchen skills, offering them a range of opportunities in the field.
Patrons of the cafe are always blown away by the quality of food and drinks and well as the level of service provided. A few hours ago the cafe shared a sad update about the possible future of their business. As of now, it isn’t looking good but many of you, our readers have tagged us and emailed us the post asking to help spread the story, so here it is.
The cafe is owned and run by Wade and Wendy Schultz. Wendy is a Dutch national but has been happily living in South Africa. For the last two years, she has been working with home affairs to correct an error made on her paperwork. The error was made by the home office and has caused Wendy stress in having to try and fix it.
During the process, the slip-up has led to Wendy being banned from returning to South Africa for 5-years. She has had to leave her entire life behind because of a mistake made by officials. She left her job behind, running the training programme for Brownies and Downies, as well as her husband, Wade.
“Essentially, Brownies & Downies runs a training programme where young people with special needs are taught culinary skills so that they are empowered, can have a sense of purpose, and can contribute meaningfully to society”, she says.
“I have battled in an appeals process spanning close on two years to sort out my paperwork with the Department of Home Affairs, but seem to hit one snag after the other. Apart from wishing to be reunited with my husband, Brownies & Downies needs me back in South Africa to continue the work that we have started”, said Wendy.
The training programme has seen the successful integration of 12 people with intellectual disabilities into work environments, with 7 awaiting Wendy’s return so that they may be placed. Aside from working with people in the cafe and through training, they are inundated with calls from special needs schools as well as families with special needs children around the country to start similar initiatives in other parts of South Africa because of the successes achieved in Cape Town.
With Wendy absent from the business, there is a high chance it will have to close its doors, meaning many people will lose out.
‘The impending closure of Brownies & Downies will not only impact the many young people who are benefitting from the programme, but trainers and other support staff face the prospect of losing their jobs too.’
Wade and everyone at Brownies & Downies are desperate to get Wendy back! Their hope in sharing the story as far and wide is that someone who has knowledge on how to help them might see the post.
“Please help us by sharing this post and maybe we can get some help to sort Wendy’s paperwork out so our doors don’t have to close.”
People are rallying to support the cafe with many tagging us in the hopes of sharing the story far and wide. Wendy will be calling into SmileFM on Monday at 6 pm to explain the painful process that has led her to be banned. If you would like to assist or follow the progress of this story, you can do so on their Facebook page here. They will also be able to connect you to Wendy if you have offers of help.