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Coffee shop helps mentally-disabled 'open up'

Coffee shop on Tel-Hai College campus helps mentally-disabled people break out of their shell. 'It changed my life,' one of them says

Yoram Kaplan, 44, has been suffering from depression for many years, but a coffee shop that opened near his home in Kibbutz Misgav Am has made life a bit more joyful.


"I lived in the kibbutz's 'bubble,' alone for most of the day, and this made things worse," he told the Yedioth Ahronoth daily. "I read some books and learned that in order to break out from the coils of depression I would have to open up to new worlds."


Salvation came two years ago, when two students from the Social Work department at Tel-Hai College, in cooperation with the Israeli Association for Mental Health (IAMH), opened a special coffee shop on campus.


"Cafe Motek" caters to the mentally disabled and to coffee lovers in general.


"When the place is packed you can't tell the difference between the mentally-disabled people who hang out here and the students," says Gilad Levi, who runs the coffee shop on behalf of IAMH.


"The coffee shop brings people together without labeling anyone. Stigmas are left outside the door," he says.


As for Kaplan, well, he couldn't be happier. "This place has changed my life," he says. "It boosted my self-esteem and confidence."


Kaplan also volunteers at the coffee shop.



פרסום ראשון: 02.21.12, 07:10
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