CHENGDU, Dec. 8 (Xinhua) -- Jianjian, a 34-year-old barista, is most adept at pouring a coffee named 100,000-seconds.
The name comes from his own story. Making his signature hand drip coffee takes 130 seconds, and Jianjian spent 102,960 seconds to master the process.
Jianjian is affected by autism, a disease that causes impaired social functions, communication disorders and restricted and rigid behaviors. Always seeming to be immersed in their own world, autistic children are also called "the children of the stars." The cafe he works at therefore was named Starry Sky.
Every time Jianjian makes the coffee, he strictly follows the steps which he explains in detail to the customers with a gentle smile.
Before joining Starry Sky in Chengdu, capital of southwest China's Sichuan Province, Jianjian worked as a cleaner for nearly 10 years -- he could not handle complicated work due to his poor memory. Now he has found joy in his new position. "I've learned new skills here and it's also a kind of exercise for me," he said.
Data from the second national sample survey show that there are more than 12 million people with mental disabilities in China, including those with mental retardation, Down syndrome and autism, and the employment rate of these people of working age is less than 8 percent.
Starry Sky was opened in 2019, supported by the disabled persons' federation in Chengdu's Jinjiang District. It bore the hope of building up a vocational training base to help people with disabilities find a stable source of income.
"The first step for integrating people with disabilities into society is to take them out of their own world and bring them together with everyone," said Yang Juan, founder of Starry Sky.
The cafe has also opened more possibilities for them.
Kexin was diagnosed as an autistic child in the first grade of primary school. Her father has hence quit his job to take care of her.
Despite scoring a low mark at the cafe's job training evaluation, Kexin was still "hired" for her talent in painting. Now she draws at her studio at the coffee shop while her father also works here.
Now, Starry Sky is trying to produce products imprinted with Kexin's works and pay her copyright fees. At this cozy cafe, the "children of the stars" are shining brightly. Enditem