IPOH: KAFE Ray of Hope was recently judged the cleanest food premises by the Ipoh City Council.
The first sheltered workshop cafe in Ipoh, it teaches trainees to bake.
The workshop provides practical hands-on training to those with Down's Syndrome.
To undergo training at the workshop, one has to be enrolled in a pre-training class for six months before being selected to pursue a bakery course.
During pre-training, the student will learn the basics of how to take orders, serve customers and wipe tables.
Once the student excels in the pre-training stage, he or she will be trained in bakery and other minor cooking skills, as well as kitchen work for another 30 months.
Upon graduation, the student will work under sheltered or open employment to earn an income.
The student will also receive RM300 allowance from the Disabled Workers Scheme sponsored by the state Welfare Department.
Parents are allowed to assist their children during training sessions as "partners" in the learning process.
Cafe chairman Datin Mary Yeoh said the sheltered workshop provided an opportunity for special children and youths to learn a vocation, and be equipped with relevant working skills in preparation for future employment.
"Unfortunately, 90 per cent of the parents are reluctant to allow their children to try open employment. They fear their children will not be able to adapt to the working world.
"Hence, the children stay on with us under sheltered employment to help cook and serve at the cafe-cum-workshop," she said.
The cafe is a one-stop centre offering a holistic educational programme to people with learning disabilities.
The non-governmental organisation was set up in 2001 in Buntong.
It then extended its work to Bercham in 2003.
The cafe was launched in July 2011 to provide training and employment for the mentally challenged.
Kafe Ray of Hope is at 24 to 26 Persiaran Bercham Selatan 31, Taman Sri Kurau, Ipoh.
For details, call 05-548 8796.