7-ELEVEN Malaysia recently collaborated with NGO Hub Asia on a notable endeavour to empower autistic youth. The project involved youth inflicted with autism, encouraging them to take charge of their lives by providing them with an opportunity to learn and develop skills to effectuate employment. SIGNIFICANT UNDERTAKING The initiative involved 10 autistic youths from the Autistic Cafe Project. These young adults were offered a short certification programme on “Cafe Preparation and Service” initiated by 7-Eleven Malaysia and NGO Hub Asia. A team of volunteers from the 24-hour convenience store coordinated the programme at the Autistic Café Project centre in Puchong. The “students” were mentored by the volunteers on basic café preparation and food service skills, which included social etiquette and deportment skills, the art of serving food and bussing tables, along with relevant simple daily tasks. All these, backed up with words of encouragement and assurance, lent confidence to the autistic “apprentices”. Each youth was awarded a certificate and handed a goodie bag to acknowledge their efforts in completing the programme. 7-Eleven Malaysia also contributed provisions and basic necessities to aid in the daily operations and catering services provided by the Autistic Cafe Project. IMPACTING LIVES Said Adli on the programme: “As parents, we constantly think of our children’s best interests, and raising a child with autism is no different. In fact, it is even more crucial for us to be supportive of autistic children and to guide them to become independent individuals. “Knowing a child is capable of taking charge of his or her own future helps put any parent’s mind at ease; especially in seeing that they are able to support themselves when we no longer can.” 7-Eleven Malaysia general manager of marketing Ronan Lee was delighted to be part of the significant project. “These youth need our help more than anyone else. The extent of their capabilities is boundless. By offering them a chance to learn, we are giving them a future. “We at 7-Eleven Malaysia strongly believe in uplifting the lives of those who need us, and knowing the difference we can make inspires us to continue our endeavours of being ‘Always There For You’,” Lee said. For more information, visit the Autistic Café Project’s Facebook page. DID YOU KNOW? The Autistic Café Project was established last year by Mohd Adli Yahya, who aspires to help local autistic youth take charge of their lives in seeking and securing future employment.