Cirrus Culinnaire

Social Enterprise Stories

Cirrus Culinnaire

We saw an urgent need to help the maturing intellectually disabled and autistic, who were coming out of school and into the working world only to find that they could not find a job that fits their unique circumstances. The worse thing for them would be to stay home as there would be no interaction that could provide the stimulation that they needed in order to continue to grow. So, Cirrus Culinnaire was born. Our mission was to develop great food products while at the same time, be able to help the intellectually disabled and autistic find something meaningful that could give them a sense of fulfillment and independence.
We are able to employ a broad spectrum of young adults with special needs, with those who love to cook deployed at My NoNNa’s, which produces good value, home-style Italian Food, while those who prefer to serve are engaged at PoPPy, to serve freshly popped gourmet flavoured popcorn and party treats.
We had agreed to take on a young lady who had been about to turn 21, but was not going to be allowed to graduate because she had not been offered full time employment by anyone. We decided to give her an opportunity to train with us, and within three months, decided that she could be employed by us. In November that year, she was allowed to graduate with her class! Attending her graduation ceremony was one of the most fulfilling and heart-warming moments in our My NoNNa’s journey.
One of the key challenges is the lack of understanding about what a social enterprise is, and consequently, a shortage of people who have the patience and empathy to work with people with special needs whom we could employ to help supervise at our outlets.
We have a twin mission. By employing these young adults with special needs, we give them a sense of independence and self-worth and help them integrate into society. A corresponding objective in My NoNNa’s social mission is to educate our young to be able to engage effectively with persons with special needs. It is hoped that as the students work with and interact with our team of young adults with special needs, they will develop an understanding and acceptance of them. The students are employers of the future and they will, in turn, be able to think about re-designing jobs to enable young adults with special needs to be able to have meaningful employment and a fuller integration into society.