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Charitable laundry in Changchun gives hope to people with autism

(People's Daily Online)    14:50, March 15, 2019

Staff members work in the laundry. (Photo/Zhang Yao)

A laundry shop in Changchun, northeast China’s Jilin province, is doing its bit to help people living with autism.

Shang Yulong, the owner of the laundry and dry cleaners, which opened in 2017, said he aims to help young autistic people find work, which can be more challenging than for other young people. Shang added that he decided to open a business for people living with autism that would be relatively easy and safe for them to learn.

The laundry began employing young people with autism the same year. Now, it has 21 full-time and part-time employees, who receive a monthly salary ranging from 500 yuan to 3,000 yuan.

According to Shang, who is also the founder of a special education school next to the shop, about one-third of his employees are graduates from the school next door.

19-year-old Xiaolong has been working full-time at the laundry for about a year. He is outgoing and loves sketching and storytelling, or Pingshu in Chinese, and keeps the other members of staff amused with his stories.

(Photo/Zhang Yao)

Shang explained that although Xiaolong only has a mild form of autism, he hardly spoke when he first came to the special education school, adding that he can now handle these situations better thanks to professional training. He often picks up and delivers goods along with other members of staff, and is recognized for his hard work.

A number of local colleges, hotels, and restaurants also cooperate with the laundry, so the store is able to make ends meet.

The laundry has become a place for people with autism to gain a reputation, giving the young employees confidence, and allowing them to earn money to help their families, Shang noted.

A staff member receives training in the laundry. (Photo/Zhang Yao)

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