Adli Yahya

Time Out Kuala Lumpur - - Dare to do -

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.

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