The Story of Ipi
The café was named after Pekka Hämäläinen (1938–2013), a senior lawyer based in Helsinki. He was Helsinki-born, a true example of urban folk. Hämäläinen is primarily remembered for his work as a labour market lawyer, and also as a football enthusiast. Hämäläinen had an impressive career, his last position was Director General of The Finnish Food and Drink Industries’ Federation. In football, he was a Finnish champion (HIFK, 1961). He held international positions of trust in the Football Association of Finland and became the chairman of the association.
After his death, an idea of setting up a “monument” for him in Helsinki started spreading among people who knew him. Hämäläinen’s first grandchild was born in 1986, with Down syndrome. Hämäläinen had a positive, constructive attitude to life and people, and the disability of his grandchild did not change this. He was a loving grandfather to all his grandchildren and took genuine interest in them. Pekka Hämäläinen’s children and grandchildren knew him by one name, and that name was Ipi.
Thus, the café was named after the nickname of Pekka “Ipi” Hämäläinen, a lover of good food and a famous figure in Helsinki. You can almost hear Ipi greet his guests at the door.
Ipi is a “on-the-job” learning environment, where individuals with special needs get to practise the skills required in café work. Ipi permanently employs 5 workers, one requiring special support. The educational background of the staff includes pedagogical education and experience in supervision of work, in addition to regular expertize in restaurant/catering business. In addition to this, students from special education schools carry out practical training periods that last for approximately 6 weeks. Their training is guided by graduating students that are carrying out their own practical training period, for example as a bachelor of social services, community educator or occupational therapist.
As support for guidance and teaching we use induction material using plain language, which we have created using BookCreator application: In there, the tasks and recipes are described with the help of images, plain language and/or with video clips.
Ipi would be proud of us!
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