Popularity of Islamabad’s food truck staffed by differently-abled youth grows

President, his wife visit ‘Abey Khao’ that hires only deaf staff to serve customers

People communicate using sign language outside Pakistan's first mobile restaurant, staffed entirely by deaf workers, in Islamabad.

Islamabad: A pair of spectacles set over thick moustache with signature headline “Abey Khao”, which translates to “The Eat Guys”, is the title of Islamabad’s first fast food truck that is staffed by the hearing impaired youngsters in the F-7 residential sector.

The bright yellow-themed truck can now be seen parked along a quiet road. The food truck seeks to empower people with hearing disabilities and provides them with an opportunity to earn livelihood in a normal and respectable way.

It also promotes social inclusion and economic opportunity for the differently-abled people in Pakistan.

Serving the fast food lovers for over one-and-a-half years the food truck gained overnight popularity after President Arif Alvi along with wife came here and ordered food using sign language.

It was indeed a pleasure for @Saminalvi & I, to go to this food truck in Isb, buy & eat delicious burgers & fries. 'Abey KHAO' is entirely managed by deaf brothers, taking orders cooking & serving. Even teaching us simple sign language to 'talk' to them. The new lovely Pakistan🙂 https://t.co/9sB3ddhh4R

— Dr. Arif Alvi (@ArifAlvi) March 3, 2022

'New lovely Pakistan'

Dr Arif Alvi in a tweet said it was indeed a pleasure for both of them to go to the food truck and buy burger and fries.

“Abey Kaho” is entirely managed by deaf brothers taking orders, cooking and serving,” said the president in his tweet.

“They even taught us simple sign language to talk to them. This is new lovely Pakistan, said the president.

'A family initiative'

“Abey Khao” the food truck was an initiative taken by a hearing-impaired family, with both parents and two of their children either partially or completely deaf.

Co-founded by the two brothers who use hearing aid Sheikh Jawad Raza and Sheikh Faizan Raza and their sister Ayesha Raza who doesn’t use any hearing aid and speaks normally, “Abey Khao” is the first regulated social enterprise and hires the staff that is differently abled but quick to serve, cook and can easily use sign language.

Ayesha Raza said: “I took this initiative with the idea in mind that majority of the deaf youth was unemployed in Pakistan, and they faced issues like language barriers, inequality, and discrimination.”

Her initiative is now talk of the town as it aims to challenge all of these issues.

Such initiatives that promote inclusion through enabling a fostering environment for the differently-abled people need to be promoted.

'Hearing-impaired but well-educated'

The staff serving at food truck includes Hamza Ejaz, 21, SamnanWazir,, 23, Amir Munir, 26, and Mubashir Khurshis, 22-all differently-abled but well-educated.

Amir is B.A while the rest of the three have done F.A. (Intermediate).

At the food truck, people can be seen using sign language to communicate with the staff, pro-moting inclusivity and embracing the deaf culture.

To aid the customers in placing their orders, diagrams showing how to express simple phrases in sign language are placed on the menu and on the truck.

Sheikh siblings are also highly educated and feel proud that their brainchild is recognized at the highest level.

Soon we are launching Abey Khao in Bahria Town as there is an increasing demand, they said.

Faizan is an O’ Levels graduate. Jawad is an ACCA qualified with a bachelor’s degree in Applied Accounting from the University of Oxford Brooks and has rich experience in the develop-ment sector) while Ayesha is a bio-scientist.

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