THEN Executive banking director NOW Founder of Autism Café Project
Adli’s life as a corporate executive did a 180 when he started thinking about the future of his special needs son. He gave up his day job to kick-start the Autism Café Project as a way for his son and others like him to gain the necessary skills to live independently.
The Autism Café Project began in early 2016. At the time, it was operating from a corner lot house in USJ, Subang and opened only once a week. Soon, Adli needed a larger, more financially sustainable and conducive venue for the special needs employees to flourish. After a few months, he decided to apply for a spot at IM4U Sentral in Puchong, where the Autism Café Project has been running et cetera café since.
According to Adli, one of the biggest challenges in running the project is keeping it financially sustainable. ‘Financially, it was very difficult at first. I’ve sold my car and just a few months ago we were in the red, but thankfully we’re doing much better now.’ Adli refuses to turn the project into a charity. Instead he would rather it sustain itself off the efforts of the employees. Apart from the café, the project also raises money through catering services provided by the employees.
Despite the financial difficulties, Adli claims he hasn’t regretted it one bit. ‘If I wanted to choose an easier life I could, but I’ve thought about the reason God put me here on earth and why my son is in my life, and I think it’s to work for this cause.’
et cetera café, iM4U Sentral, Jalan TPP 1/7, Taman Perindustrian Puchong (012 349 0813/Facebook: Autism Cafe Project). Mon-Fri, 8.30am-1pm.