Training and Providing Employment Opportunities for the Deaf
Silent Teddies Bakery is an initiative by the Community Service Centre for the Deaf (CSCD) to train deaf youths to be independent by equipping them with entrepreneurial skills.
“Today, there are 497,904 children, teenagers and youth with disability. The deaf community has been increasing, and it is estimated that the deaf who fall under the B40 category number around 32,000,” said Cindy Tung Sau Ping, founder of Silent Teddies Bakery.
How It Started
In 1995, The Community Service Centre for the Deaf (CSCD), a non-profit and non-governmental organisation, registered with the Ministry of Welfare Service Malaysia
to provide education for the deaf.
It began with a baking project to teach some vocational skills to the deaf students who have graduated from the centre. After that, it progressed to getting the deaf graduates to run a bakery for a living.
In 2017, Silent Teddies Bakery was registered as a social enterprise staffed entirely by the deaf. They now endeavour to manage and fund the CSCD deaf programme.
“Our first objective is to operate a sustainable long-term project that can bring in income for the disabled. Our second objective is to provide employment opportunities to the deaf as well as provide skill training to them. Moreover, we hope to place our trained beneficiaries in the open job market in the future,” said Cindy.
How did Cindy get involved in this noble mission? It started when she was young. Cindy’s late mother took care of the deaf and welcomed them. Because of that, she chose to work with them in her professional life. She studied Special Education and trained in sign language locally and abroad, and has been working with the deaf for over 40 years.
“As a member of the Society of Interpreters for the deaf, I was also called for the rights of TV news for deaf Malaysians, and helped paved the way for interpreters to appear on prime time news. I was an interpreter for RTM myself,” said Cindy.
However, all she really wanted to do was to educate more deaf children using sign language. She started her initiative 26 years ago with two Catholic brothers in Lorong Ampang, with just a few tables and chairs. With her passion and determination, she grew the initiative into CSCD. The NGO’s mission is to ensure that deaf children will acquire the necessary skills to succeed in life.
Growing the Social Enterprise
In recognition for its good work, Silent Teddies Bakery won the Malaysian Global Innovation and Creativity Centre (MaGIC) Amplify Award in 2016. It has helped them to fulfill their goals and achieve social impacts in many areas.
In 2019, Silent Teddies was selected to join the Pemangkin Usahawan Sosial Hebat (PUSH) programme, which was supported by the Economic Planning Unit (EPU), the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI) and MaGIC. PUSH is a scale-up programme with an ambition to grow social enterprises and increase their social impact through a personalised capacity building and skills development training.
In the six-week programme, Silent Teddies acquired new skills and knowledge from many inspiration speakers and trainers, as well as from other social enterprises. This helped them to increase their economic and social impact.
“Since then, Silent Teddies has been granted the Social Entrepreneur Accreditation by the Ministry of Entrepreneurial Development and Cooperatives. Our products are halal certified by JAKIM. This has helped in boosting our business by getting more orders from corporate entities,” said Cindy.
Currently, Silent Teddies Bakery supplies baked products to the local market. Cindy hopes that with the help of social media and digital marketing, they would be able to reach the international market.
“When the demand for our products increases, we will be able to invest in more equipment and employ more deaf workers from the B40 category,” said Cindy.
How You Can Help
Members of the public and companies can contribute to Silent Teddies Bakery by supporting their work, promoting deaf awareness, purchasing cookies, volunteering at the bakery or centre, collaborating on CSR programmes and events, as well as making bulk orders. Do contact the bakery to discuss custom orders for gifts and hampers.
To find out more, you can visit their website and social media.