Treat a stranger to a meal this Valentine's Day

Treat a stranger to a meal this Valentine's Day
Mr Kenny Chen, who has Down Syndrome, works as a server in APSN's Mystical Cafe For All located at Kembangan-Chai Chee Community Hub.
PHOTO: The New Paper

This Valentine's Day, consider treating a stranger to a meal.

The Association for Persons with Special Needs (APSN) launches its first social enterprise, the Mystical Cafe For All, tomorrow.

Located at the APSN Centre for Adults at the Kembangan-Chai Chee Community Hub, it serves nasi lemak and fusion food such as Spaghetti A La Melayu - spaghetti with mee rebus sauce - at $4 to $6.

The cafe will be staffed by five ASPN trainees and an instructor.

It has a pay-it-forward initiative for patrons to buy a meal voucher for others. The profits will be used to sustain the cafe.

"The main aim is to create an inclusive and caring society," said Mr Rick Lim, ASPN's head of enterprises.

The idea for the cafe came up three years ago, after APSN received negative feedback from food and beverage employers.

Mr Victor Tay, president of APSN, said: "Either they were not keen to employ our trainees as they felt they did not have (the relevant) experience, or the trainees faced rejection while working outside.

"Why not set up a cafe to help trainees gain experience and learn skills such as customer service and kitchen techniques? It will make their portfolio look good as well."

One server is Mr Kenny Chen, 29, who has Down syndrome.His father, Mr Tan Kim Joo, 69, is eager for his son to get on-the-job training.

"I have always treated Kenny like a normal person, and I think this is encouraging for parents," he said.

"Kenny is rather timid, but I feel (this experience) will make him more confident."

This article was first published on Feb 14, 2017.
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